Look at all these smiling, happy people at the Dodge City Days Parade. Stay beautiful, Dodge City!

It might have been the biggest, and certainly one of the hottest, Dodge City Days parade as close to 140 entries travelled from the Civic Center down Second Avenue and Market Street until stopping, hand wave muscle exhausted, at the Roundup Arena.

"If it wasn't the biggest, it was awfully close," said AMBUCS member Don Wiles.

It took about 45 minutes for the pace leaders to reach the end of the route, but starting at 9:30 a.m., the last entry didn't reach the end until just before noon.

This is the fifth year the AMBUCS have organized the event. This year the parade committee was headed by Kevin Lix.

As temperatures flirted with the triple digits at the National Weather Service station at Dodge City Airport, the heat on the blacktop wilted many of the most stalwart marchers by the time they reached Market Street where kind-hearted and prank-loving residents hosed down the floaters, walkers and wavers.

The Boot Hill Museum gunfighters on Central Avenue before Comanche Street hooted, hollered and shot the place up only to find out their boots maybe weren't made for walking as they joined the Longbranch dancers for the final leg of the route on top of the float.

National Beef's saddle-spinning Farris wheel earned it the top commercial honors and a big trophy. Tyson Fresh Meats came with a western scene and beat Cargill's Dr. Stangelove-inspired red, white and blue saddled rocket, "Saddle up and Enjoy the Ride" being the theme of this year's Dodge City Days.

Music played well in the adult non-profit category with the Heaven Bound Cowboy Church's gospel singing taking the top honors, the Dodge City Cowboy Band rode its way to second place and the United Way took third.

Outwest took first place in the "Horse and Western" category and One Horse Ranch took second.

The St. Cornelius Church Youth Group earned first place in the youth category and were followed by the too-cheerful for 101 degree heat DC Diamonds and DCHS cheerleaders.

Also notable during the parade was the number of political candidates dusting off their boots for a little west Kansas credibility, shaking hands, kissing babies and leaving behind lots and lots of brochures.