The recent 85th Santa Fe Trail Days brought many people to town.

The event, sponsored by Las Animas High School students, started with a new event on April 25. This year, the students voted to have a king of the parade to preside along with the long-established traditional queen of the event.

Each of the king candidates had to compete in the Frontier Skill contests: make a coonskin cap of rabbit fur, all material provided; play a tune on a Jews Harp; fill out a questionnaire on historical facts about the Santa Fe Trail; demonstrate bow and arrow skills by shooting six arrows at a target; and axe throwing. The boys had 15 minutes for each contest and they were judged on the quality of their skills. The making of the coonskin cap was probably the most challenging as each candidate had to cut the rabbit skin into a hat shape, then sew it by hand to form a fur cap.

The theme for the 85th event was Trail Blazers and Stargazers, and was submitted by Cindy Bourne

The T-shirt design featured a covered wagon under the stars with stars and constellations aligned to spell out the theme. Brooke Vigil was the T-shirt designer and first-place sales went to Dani Elmore, with Mekhi Stone second in sales.

On April 26, the costume judging was held for both the queen and king candidates at the commons area in the junior high building. Each queen candidate had to explain what historical woman she was portraying, the importance of the character on the trail, and describe in detail the costume she was wearing.

Each king candidate then described his costume and the historical character he portrayed.

Following the judging, all candidates left to join the parade lineup.

The 85th parade was one of the larger ones in recent history with 50 entries.

Vendor booths and games lined Carson street. There were 27 booths this year, local and out of town.

The sophomore class sponsored a ranch burger luncheon at the high school followed by the square dance competition, an awards ceremony and the queen and king coronation.

Friday evening, the high school drama club presented the play, “The Perfumed Badge,” at the school cafeteria.

The day ended with a family dance at the Community Center.

On Saturday, a golf tournament was held at the Las Animas Golf Course. And free admission continued for the art show and the Museum at the John Rawlings Heritage Center and the Boggsville Historic site.

The Annual Huck Finn Fishing Derby was held Sunday at the City Pond, sponsored by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.

Winners of the the various contests were:

Queen of the parade was Phoebe Frausto, freshman class candidate. She was dressed as a historical Mexican day laborer woman with a practical costume of a colorful serape, apron, long skirt, plain white blouse, beaded necklace and moccasins.

The first king of the parade was Cutter Nichols, junior class representative, portraying a Las Vegas, N.M., gunfighter and coroner with a long trench coat, vest, knee-high boots, spurs and a six-gun in holster.

The overall class competition was won by the freshmen, Class, followed juniors, seniors and sophomores.

Parade awards were:

Best community float: First Presbyterian Church.

Best Antique Vehicle: Southeast Colorado Car Club.

Class floats: First place, freshman class; second place, junior class; third place, sophomore class; and fourth place, senior class.

The Class of 2004 was awarded a certificate for their alumni float.

High School Costumes:

Best Indian Girl: McKyla Whattler.

Best Heritage Costume: Jessi Baturin.

Best Cowgirl: Shelby Eck.

Best Cowboy: Roper Nichols.

Community Costumes:

Best Indian Girl: Santana Velasquez.

Best Senorit: Cassandra and India Siefkas.

Best Pioneer: Jordan Dupree.

Best Dance Hall Girl: Dallee Nichols.

Best Mountain Man: Abraham Cook.

Best Society Belle: Grace Gardner.

Best CowGirl: Jadann Eck.

Best Cow Boy: Kree Wallace.

Best Beard: Joe Hawkins.

Queen’s Transportation:

First: Freshman class.

Second: Junior class.

Third: Sophomore class.

Fourth: Senior class.

King’s Transportation:

First: Senior class.

Second: Junior class.

Third: Freshman class.

Fourth: Sophomore class.

Square Dance Competition:

First: Senior class, coached by Mary Lou Turner.

Second: Junior class, coached by Cody Allen.

Third: Sophomore class, coached by Katie Dupree.

Fourth: Freshman class, coached by Rachelle Siefkas and Tiana Garcia.

Recognized as Citizen of the year was Don Headlee, a volunteer at Bent County’s historical sites.