Send in the Clowns

The best thing about Prescott's 102nd annual Frontier Days parade last Saturday was the cowboy groups like the Bill Williams Mountainmen and the Wild Bunch from Prescott.

In the worst category, it was a tossup.

First, there were the Shriners in their tiny cars, behaving like spoiled children trying to get attention.

Second came the politicians, who poured into town and took part as a way to pick up a few votes in September's primary.

There were so many political figures in the parade that every time you turned around on Whiskey Row someone was shoving a candidate's card in your hand and begging for your vote.

I immediately made a vow not to vote for anyone in the parade.

Terry Goddard, Fred Koory, and J. Fife Symington III were the three gubernatorial candidates who made appearances.

Goddard rode a gray horse and appeared to be a trifle awkward.

Koory rode a large float and seemed complacent.

Symington sat atop the back seat of a convertible with Barry Goldwater. Symington looked smug, which is the way he looks at most of his political appearances.

Goldwater clearly drew the most applause. It was here in Prescott that he had kicked off his campaign for president in 1964 and for every run he made at the Senate.

After taking his turn in the parade, Goddard walked the length of Whiskey Row working the crowd. He was accompanied on this jaunt by his sometime companion, Miss Brooke Newell of New York City.

The sedentary Koory set up greeting activities in a booth while Symington and Goldwater retired from the field.

Senator John McCain pushed one of his children in a baby buggy. He was greeted by applause so polite that it was almost nonexistent.

The Prescott Courier noted this reaction in its edition when it quoted Jim Williams, a Prescott resident, as saying:

"I liked seeing McCain walking through all that horse----."

Clearly, McCain's close association with Charles Keating and the savings and loan scandal has hurt him.

Grant Woods and Steve Twist, two Republican candidates for attorney general, were both on hand.

Twist rode a horse and Woods was on foot pulling one of his children in a wagon.

Jim Shumway, who succeeded Rose Mofford as secretary of state, rode a gray horse that, if anything, seemed too small for him. The phlegmatic Shumway, a Prescott native, threw an occasional wave to the crowd.

Dick Mahoney, running against Shumway, rode an active white horse and gesticulated wildly at every opportunity.

The crowd put up with the candidates but came alive for groups like the Indian Snake Dancers, the cowboy acts and the saloon dancing girls.

Even the Daughters of the American Revolution drew more interest than most of the candidates.