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Park Rapids celebrates 4th in style

The Moto X freestyle riders thrilled the crowd at the rodeo Thursday nights flying off a ramp into the skies. The harder the crowds cheered, the higher the two bikes soared into the sky. (Sarah Smith /Enterprise)1 / 4
Boats, especially pontoons, were decked out for the Fourth. The Two Inlets boat parade featured several resort’s pontoons, including the Bear Paw Resort, above. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 4
Randy McFarren is all smiles at the wheel of a Park Rapids fire truck. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)3 / 4
Ellie Keller got all dolled up for the festivities at Brookside Resort on Two Inlets Lake. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)4 / 4

BY Sarah smith

Thousands of vacationers, summer residents and visitors converged on the Park Rapids area this week to celebrate freedom, sunshine and Hubbard County’s glistening lakes.

Highways were clogged with traffic and bicyclists, merchants did a brisk business, and for one day, perfection reigned. Lakes were full of decorated boats celebrating.

No serious accidents were reported, although county and city officers scrambled to respond to dozens of fender benders and minor incidents, making wreckers in short supply. And dozens of boaters were cited for failing to display their registration or not having a fire extinguisher on board.

A fight at a local nightspot ended quickly by the time the first officer arrived on the scene early Saturday morning, with a half dozen others racing to the call.

The Park Rapids Rotary Club’s fireworks display lasted nearly an hour to raves all around.

“Best display ever!” was posted over and over on the Enterprise’s Facebook page Thursday night.

The 35th annual PBR Bull Ride, as usual, delivered top-notch entertainment to a packed house. More than 100 riders took turns at their eight seconds of fame riding ornery bulls, many getting bucked off. Daredevil motorcyclists flew into the stratosphere in the Moto X freestyle event and came down in one piece. The more the crowd cheered, the higher the cyclists flew up the ramp.

Spunky kids hitched a ride on feisty sheep. Many (kids, human variety) came down on their little rumps, crying at the jarring bump.

There was also an air of optimism. Local gas prices settled down to $3.39 a gallon before the holiday started, with many convenience stores offering 6 cent per gallon discounts for cash sales.

And even though spring and the tourism season was delayed significantly by snow, resort owners like Dave Keller were optimistic about the summer business, while Park Rapids motel parking lots were full.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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