On a cool sunny afternoon, three Moffat County High School seniors gathered at a warehouse south of Craig to set to work on one of their last contributions to the spirit of their high school.
Brodie Schulze, Holly Bergman and Heather Nicholson had only two days to complete their Class of 2010 float for Friday's homecoming parade, but each of them felt it was important to put something together for the celebration.
"It's our last year," senior class president Schulze said. "We've got to do something cool."
The three seniors found access to a truck and a long trailer to begin working on their float Wednesday, which they hoped would turn out something like their vision: four 3-dimensional numbers depicting their graduation year, decorated with beads and masks in accordance with the "Bulldog Mardi Gras" theme.
The parade will begin at 2 p.m. today at City Park and will travel west on Victory Way to the Safeway parking lot.
In years past, Nicholson said, few people have showed up to decorate a float, but many still want to ride on it and participate in one of the biggest events of the year in Craig.
"Last year, it rained, and we still had the parade," she said. "That's just the way Craig is. There's nothing that's going to stop whatever we have planned. It's a lot more extreme than other towns."
She said homecoming week was all about spirit and getting behind the football team, but as a senior, the week carried a little more weight.
"It's kind of sad because you're thinking how senior year is more fun, then it's, like, 'Oh, next year, I'll be in college and a freshman,'" Nicholson said. "But, I'm so used to this town. Even if you go to Grand Junction, there's five different high schools all doing their own thing. But here there's one school, and if you go to one football game, homecoming is the one you try to go to."
Schulze, who has lived in Craig since he was 3 years old, has been riding on floats since he was young. He knows the ins and outs of a fun and successful homecoming parade.
"I love handing out candy," he said. "Especially when it's a row of kindergarteners just waiting, yelling 'I want candy,'"
But he's also seen the downside of riding on the moving floats.
"If you step off the float, don't step off one foot at a time, or you will fall on your face," he said, speaking from experience. "You have to jump off with both feet."
During the parade, Thom Schnellinger, Moffat County High School principal, won't get to ride on a float.
In his standard garb - a blue Bulldogs shirt and walkie-talkie in hand - Schnellinger will walk alongside the parade as it makes its way down Victory Way.
"I've got to make sure everyone's being good," he said. "But everyone's usually pretty good."
Schnellinger let a few of the students tap into their rebellious side during a pie-throwing session at lunch Wednesday. For $5, students could attempt to throw a pie of whipped cream at their principal's face.
He said it was important for the teachers and students to have some fun with the busy week.
"It's a huge event," he said. "It's crazy, and it's huge. It's a lot of work for us, but it's so great that people embrace these traditions and that the community continues to support them."
He said it was notable that the Moffat County School District remains an important institution in the Craig community and that local businesses and organizations continue to show their support for the schools.
"What's important is the amount of pride this school has in what we do for the community," he said. "That's the reason something like homecoming hasn't fizzled away and died out."