It was partly cloudy Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from flocking to the Missouri River waterfront in Pierre to show their support for President Donald Trump.
A group of around 200 boats gathered outside of the American Legion and, starting at 1 p.m., processed around LaFramboise Island and down the Missouri River Causeway. Hundreds of people gathered at the waterfront to watch as air horns blasted and cars honked, flags waved, and patriotic music played from some of the boats’ speakers.
Holly Thorpe of Mount Vernon, South Dakota, attended the parade with her husband to demonstrate their support. Holly Thorpe said she enjoyed seeing people’s hearts for America, and that it was “heartwarming” to watch everyone express their love and support for the country and the president.
“He’s done what he said he’s gonna do. He’s pro-America all the way, pro-life, and he’s not a politician,” Holly Thorpe said.
Ron and Deb Smith of the Black Hills watched the boats from the water’s edge. The Smiths came out to show support for the president and described the event as patriotic and unifying.
“It’s just a down-home good time, getting like-minded people together,” Ron Smith said of the event.
This isn’t the Smiths’ first pro-Trump event, but it is their first boat parade. In 2016, they attended several Trump campaign rallies in Arizona. They said they support him because he keeps his promises and does what he says he’s going to do.
“He’s pro-life; he’s pro-Second Amendment; he supports police; he’s building the wall,” the Smiths told the Capital Journal. “He bettered our economy until COVID, which is not his fault.”
A pop-up “Trump Shop” was set up at Steamboat Park along with several other vendors and food trucks. People paused to take pictures of the Trump Shop’s bus, which proclaimed “Re-Elect Trump 2020.”
While many patronized the shop to pick up pro-Trump gear, others came prepared.
Bruce Kessler of Gators Pizza decorated his tractor for the occasion. He came to watch the parade with his girlfriend, Jennifer, and support Trump.
“I like his policy — he may not be the smartest, but he’s not a knucklehead like (Democrat Joe) Biden,” Kessler said of Trump.
Clara Jo Bronemann of Pierre attended the event with her dog, Little Joseph, who came decked out in a red cape that read “Make America Safe Again.” Bronemann said the parade was something fun to do in town to enjoy the last few days of summer.
Chastin Tollakson decorated his pickup truck for the event and, along with friend Blaine Hauptman, planned to participate in the impromptu vehicle parade after the boat event.
“I wanted to support Trump. It’s a great way to spend a weekend and get to show off my pickup,” Tollakson said.
Overall, the atmosphere was jubilant, as onlookers displayed their patriotism.
The Fickbohm family, all clad in Make America Great Again hats, brought lawn chairs and sat next to their truck, adorned with Trump and American flags. Matt Fickbohm said the boat parade was “a good time to celebrate President Trump.”
Olowan Rouse and her daughters, Emmalina and Eliana Rasch, came out to support the president despite being yelled at by passersby in a vehicle. Rouse, wearing a sweatshirt that depicted Trump as a superhero, noted the lack of other Native American supporters at the event.
“He is doing amazing things for us, for all of us,” Rouse said.