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Cave Creek float, horseback riders a big hit at Fiesta Bowl Parade

1/4/17

Tara Alatorre
Staff

CAVE CREEK – The Town of Cave Creek was represented last Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl Parade by Western-donned horseback riders and a float depicting Old Town Cave Creek, in what is perhaps one of the largest events in Arizona – drawing in large crowds from all over the country.

A total of eight riders sporting Western gear on horseback, a float depicting Old Town Cave Creek, a lot of volunteers, and a wagon serving as a mobile pooper scooper, showcased the eclectic Cave Creek community for their second year now.

Last year, the Fiesta Bowl Committee contacted Leslie Jensen, the head organizer of the group, to participate in the parade because they wanted to showcase Arizona’s diverse and unique communities.

The Cave Creek horseback riding group was such a big hit with the crowds in the 2015 parade, the Fiesta Bowl Committee requested their return for this year and beyond.

“Last year and this year, the crowd roared as we went by – they absolutely loved how we represent the community with some pretty creative float setting and decorations,” said Jensen.

There would have been close to 12 or more horseback riders this year, but bad weather and the flu, caused some participants to cancel for health and safety reasons, says Jensen.

Jensen, and the group of Cave Creek riders, are no rookies to parades, either; they have participated in over 15 parades together, with over eight years of experience riding in parades. The group even won first-place in the 2013 Parada Del Sol for their “Salute to the Fallen” entry, she said.

On top of her overall experience in managing and organizing riders in parades, Jensen is also very active in the Cave Creek community; she has been an organizer for Cave Creek’s Wild West Days for eight years and is involved with the Cave Creek Museum.

“I love what I do, and do what I love, and I love Cave Creek!” she said.

With every volunteer working a full-time job, the group spent countless volunteer hours, planning, prepping, and making the parade float whenever they could find time, truly making it a labor of love.

It was important for Jensen and the group to showcase the Cave Creek Community at the Fiesta Bowl Parade because they feel their town is special, and that it deserves recognition as a true Arizona destination, she says in an email interview.

“It is truly a destination and needs recognition since people don’t just travel through our community,” says Jensen. “We live, love, work and play in Cave Creek and want others to know how special it is.”

Jensen and the group of parade-going horseback riders don’t have a name yet, but it is something they are definitely working on, because they have no intention of slowing down yet.

Not only are they planning for next year’s Fiesta Bowl Parade, now they have set their sights on the Rose Bowl Parade, even though it would require financial support from a sponsor.

“I have a bee in my bonnet to be in the Rose Bowl parade some year,” Jensen said.