The sidewalks along Last Chance Gulch in Helena were chock-full of spectators Friday for the annual Vigilante Parade.
First celebrated in 1924, the parade is a tradition born of rivalry between graduating high school seniors and the younger juniors. That early rivalry was marked by fights between the two classes -- which inspired a fight scene depicted on one of this year's floats -- but today’s tradition sparks wholesome competition between all high school students to see who can build the best float.
Groups of freshmen through seniors built 88 floats for this year’s parade. Each was supposed to represent a historic Helena institution or figure, and this year's crop included gold-painted students posing as Helena’s statues, students chipping at rocks on a Drumlummon Mine and students re-enacting boxer Jack Dempsey's 1923 title fight against Tommy Gibbons in Shelby.
Students who built a float got Thursday off of school to work on their projects, and those who didn't build a float had the opportunity to volunteer around the community.
There was no class for high school students on Friday, and students in elementary and middle schools were released at 11 a.m. for the parade's noon start.
The A.J. Roberts cup, which goes to the class with the highest participation between both high schools, went to the sophomores, who had 41.1 percent participation. Next was the juniors with 40.6 percent, narrowly edging out the seniors with 40.4 percent participation. Freshmen came in last with 33.7 percent.
The winners by category are as follows:
Kleffner Ranch (in Pioneer Life category): Kellen Elder, Tanner MacMahon, Logan McMillan, Isaiah Meza, Carter Pappas, Peyton Pappas, Colin Sassano, and Jabin Syvrud.
Most Historically Authentic
Northern Pacific East Helena Depot (in Mining and Transportation category): Scott Harris, Sean Harris, Dawson Hildenstab, Jared Northrup, and Cooper Pizzini. These students will be receiving this prize at the Montana Historical Society.
- Madison Buffalo Jump: Allison Aschim, Connor Dowdy, Kendall French, Isabel Hamper, Daniel O’Malley, and Marcus Welnell.
- Buffalo Hunting: Hannah Roher-Fitzhugh, Grace Allen, Clarice Burger, Ashley Carlson, Elena Carter, Allie DeMarinis, Kyer Frederick, Madyson Holmlund, Alyssa Magee, Reisa Pierson, Celina Sanchez, and Kasstidy Tanihill.
- Spring Meadow: Madi Quick, Kyra Dawes, Wyatt Duthie, Hunter Fairclough, Emily Hill, Matt Lesofski, Cody Lucas, Toree Rensmon, and Savanna Bigness.
- Helena’s State Fair: Bailee Vardy, Kena Arnell, Lilia Carson, Maggie Dobson, Tamara Hayward, Jennifer Moore, Brian Pennington, Emma Penrod, Cory Pentecost, Jennifer Pentecost, and Cole Wollitz.
- Holter Hardware Then / Museum Now: Niami Childs, Emma Brandt, Sydney Deweert, Delaney Knudson, Macie Krug, Montana Roberts, Vinessa Sandford, Sarah Thomas, Taylor Truax, Carly Wilson, and Kaycee Woodward
- “We can do it!” (Women of Helena During WWII): Marquette Davis, Leah Davis, Kendra Gensch, Rachel Sullivan, Faith, Mackenzie Orne, Sarah Chandler, Josie Christians, Katie Felde, Zoey Allen, Taustin Hauck, and Macy Livesay.
- Henry Sieben’s Cattle Ranch: Kylee Lamphier, Robyn Avery, Kasey Barnes, Erin Berg, Kate Hope, Alissa Johnson, Karissa Kuchtyn, and Ivie McAlmond.
- St. Peter’s Hospital: Kasydi Lucas, Margan Bartsch, Chelsi Ebelt, Lexi Johnston, Sidney Lamb, McKenna Pocha, Jaley Priddy, Caroline Rosling, Shea Sampson, and Shelby VanHemelryck.
- Sunset Drive-In: Jessica Maynard, Jaci Baker, Madison Gates, Natalie Gates, Joseph Hagengruber, Madison Kelley, Ryan Kimball, Mathew McGinley, and Jade Olson.
- Grand Pacific Bar: Gus Chancey, Jessie Alles, Walker Cozzie, Grace Kimball, Sydney Ladas, Shelby Rosston, and Addy Schull.
- Historic Helena Statues: Emma Anderberg, Claire Peterson, Connor Ashby, and Justin Mote.
- Cromwell Dixon: Mary Hartman, Ryan Burger, Cassidy Burke, Kyle Hayter, and Kayla Pocha.
Mining and Transportation
- Drumlummon Mine:Cole Morse, Josh Eagan, Tiffany Gruber, Austin Lee, Shayly Rane, Tucker Riesbeck, and Trevor Worthington.
- Drumlummon Mine: Landon Rivers, Mickey Branton, Canty Clayton, Jeanne Coyle, Dexter Dean, Daniel Fields, Grayson Hilborn, Connor Mclaury, Jacob Marsh, Morgan Reichert, and Daniel Smith.
- 1969 Cadillac Deville: Erin Fitzpatrick, Emily Buschini, Tiffany David, and Emily Griffiths.
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