Muddy water reflects a skip loader driven by Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse member Dave Grant as he helps prepare the fairgrounds for tomorrow's event. (Amy Alonzo, The Union Democrat/copyright 2003).
Break out the cowboy boots and brush up on the line dances. Despite this week's rain, the 2003 Mother Lode Roundup is looking better than ever.
It all kicks off tonight with the Cowboy Christian Concert at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. But one of the main events streams through Sonora tomorrow, as the second-largest parade in California marches up Washington Street toward the Red Church.
And in a change of pace from the past month, weather is looking good. Forecasters predict mostly sunny skies with highs in the 60s and 70s.
Parking will be off limits downtown, as a crowd of about 10,000 is expected to pack the sidewalks for the affair.
This year's 166-entry procession will feature all the Tuolumne County school marching bands, Shriners on bikes, The Shady Ladies of the Mother Lode, and dozens of horses and antique cars.
Leading the way will be Sheriff Dick Rogers, Grand Marshal Joe Martin, newly crowned Roundup Queen Caity Smith and departing Queen Kie Njirich.
Rodeos at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds Arena will spice up tomorrow and Sunday afternoons, and there's a dance at the fairgrounds tomorrow night.
The traditional Mother's Day Breakfast starts Sunday morning at 8 but will run until noon, so those who attend Cowboy Church with Coy Huffman at 10 in the grandstands can still get some eats.
It's all shaping up to be a classic cowboy weekend.
Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at gbookwalter@ uniondemocrat.com .