Parade Marshal George Abeyta waves to the crowd lining Main Street Lander during the 124th annual Pageant of the Old West Parade. (Matthew Copeland / WyoFile)

Independence Day in Lander draws throngs of celebrants from across the region every year, making the Pageant of the Old West Parade a must-stop for those seeking election in the state.

Aspiring governors Mark Gordon, Sam Galeotos, Harriet Hageman and Rex Rammell all marched the length of Main Street for the 124th annual event, as did would-be auditors Kristi Racines and Nathan Winters, Leland Christensen who’s running for treasurer, Ed Buchanan who hopes to stay on as the secretary of state and numerous candidates for city and county offices.

None, however, could compete with the enthusiastic reception afforded community leader and Parade Marshal George Abeyta. A great-great-grandson of revered Eastern Shoshone Chief Washakie, a Fort Washakie School teacher and coach, and a champion Fancy Feather dancer, Abeyta made national news last year when he sent a former student to Disneyland — honoring a 20-year-old pledge to gift such a trip to any student who earned his or her degree from a four-year university.

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Matthew Copeland is the chief executive & editor of WyoFile. Contact him at or (307) 287-2839. Follow Matt on Twitter at @WyoCope

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