Honor and family is what Nevada Day 2016 is all about

Wizard of Oz characters Mallory Otto, Sophia Ruedy, Alana Burson and Molly Otto await the start of the 2 mile run Saturday.

Wizard of Oz characters Mallory Otto, Sophia Ruedy, Alana Burson and Molly Otto await the start of the 2 mile run Saturday.

For Robert Prior, Nevada Day is a family tradition that goes back more than 45 years.

Prior, 85, had been participating in Nevada Day since 1971, when he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. He has been riding with the Marines in the parade nearly every year. And in 1956 and 1957, when he first moved to Carson City, he held the colors during the parade.

Prior was a maintenance equipment officer and held all enlisted ranks in the Marine Corps for 25 years on active duty and four years as a fleet reserve and was sent overseas to Vietnam and Korea four times, however no matter how far he’s traveled, Carson City is where he always comes back to. He said he was offered a position in Twentynine Palms military base, but he and his wife love Carson too much to move out there.

“Carson City is a great town,” Prior said.

Prior has many ties to the community, he was a teacher at Carson High School and Western Nevada College for seven years after retiring from the Marine Corps and has attended every Nevada Day, in rain, snow or shine.

For him, Nevada Day is a fun-filled excuse to spend time with his family and community. His children, grandchildren and great-grand children are all usually present to celebrate Nevada Day together at the same plot they always rent.

“My whole family ... we all hang out together,” Prior said. “...It is good history for the kids and all the little guys really enjoy it.

“It is tradition, our family’s done it for years.”

Prior said a lot has changed with the Nevada Day parade since he first started coming.

“It is much larger now and there are a lot more bands in it, there used to be only four or five,” Prior said. “There is a lot more participation.”

Nevada Day holds a lot of history for people who have been attending the event their whole lives.

Pettie Pochop, a Carson native, was a majorette in 1971 in the parade and remembers the fun of getting to be a part of the day.

“This is my first time attending the parade since the 1970s,” Pochop said. “Although a lot has changed, I enjoy walking down Carson Street. There’s still some things that bring back memories. It’s hometown warmth.”

Seventy-three year old Dan Miles remembered playing the trumpet in the Nevada Day parade when he was in elementary school. Though it has been more than 70 years attending Nevada Day, he still loves attending.

“Look at the crowd – we have an exceptional turnout with great weather,” Miles said. “I’ve been going to the parade since I was born, and over the last 73 years, the event keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Because Nevada Day has been around so long, it has become something families do every year together, often times many generations attending the festivities.

“As a family born and raised in Nevada, this has been our tradition. What makes this year even better are the new sidewalks,” said Dawn Voight.

Just in time for Nevada Day this year, the city opened the renovated Carson Street — eliminating the median and making the sidewalks more pedestrian and bike friendly.

“I’ve been going to this parade my whole life. But this year it’s more convenient now that the sidewalks are wider,” said Tiffany Allen.

For many Nevadans, the state-wide holiday is a great way to bring the community together to enjoy the day. Some are dressed in head to toe Nevada and Battle Born logos and others show their spirit by dressing in costume.

“I love contributing to Nevada Day by dressing up and helping out with the Guide Dog races,” said Stacy Harrison, who dressed up in heart-patterned ants and a wolf stocking cap. “I always have a positive experience with Nevada Day. I love the people that come out.”

As usual, thousands of men, women and children took over Carson Street and the surrounding areas to celebrate the founding of the 36th state.

Nevada Day has a special place in many people’s hearts, with many patrons driving hundreds of miles to attend. Jose Gomez and his family traveled from Maple Valley, Wash., to come visit family and attend the festivities. Gomez’s son Jesse, 10, had the most fun, enjoying all the parade had to offer.

“I thought it was cool when the cheerleaders danced and watching horses go by,” Jesse said. “It’s so exciting to see all of this cool stuff.”


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