The Parker Veterans Day Parade was cancelled, but the Eagle Riders of the Parker Eagles, FOE Aerie 4419, were still proud of the float they built. It appeared in the Lake Havasu City Veterans Day Parade, and was featured the afternoon of Nov. 11 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7061 in Parker.
The display consisted of a pickup truck adorned with American flags that carried a large figure of an eagle that once stood above the Parker Aerie at Mohave and Arizona Avenues. The truck towed a trailer that had flags of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and had a representation of the riderless horse with boots turned backwards in the stirrups, a traditional military honor for fallen warriors.
With the Eagle Riders being a motorcycle club, a motorcycle was used in place of a horse.
John “Uncle John” Walthall, the Road Captain for the Parker Eagle Riders, said the idea came to the group two years ago, prior to the coronavirus pandemic. There was no Veterans Day parade in 2020, so the group prepared the float for the 2021 parade. The parade was cancelled three days before it was supposed to take place on Nov. 13.
The motorcycle was a Harley Davison 1200 Custom which was donated by Tom O’Brien. He also donated the boots set in the stirrups. Walthall said the actual combat boots from the Korean War.
The saddle was obtained from Saddles & Soldiers in Lake Havasu City. Walthall said it was 200 years old, having been made by the John Deere Company in 1820.
“A little history,” he said. “Before they started making tractors, John Deere made saddles.”
Walthall said the float was a big hit at the Lake Havasu parade. When it was on display in Parker, many of the members of VFW Post 7061 came outside to check it out.
Walthall thanked the entire team that worked on putting the float together, including Doug Van, Olivia Van, Karen Nollett, Joe Nollett and Benney Falls.
The Eagle Riders are a charitable riding club. They are involved in many fundraisers. Their motto is “People Helping People.” They recently raised $23,000 for hospice services.
“Bikers help out a lot,” Walthall said.