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Thu, Nov. 14

Bud and Barb Parenteau named Labor Day parade honorary grand marshals

This year’s honorary grand marshals for the Sept. 1 Labor Day parade are Bud and Barb Parenteau.

Guy Christian, owner/president of KAFF Radio 93 FM and 930 AM as well as KMGM Radio “The Mountain” 93.9 FM, will serve as parade grand marshal.

“Each year the Williams Rodeo Committee chooses a person or persons to be the honorary grand marshal for the Labor Day Rodeo Parade,” said Bob Dean, committee chair. “We try to choose people that have contributed much to the community.

“We are proud to have the Parenteaus serve in this position in 2001.”

Certainly the Parenteaus fit the bill. They arrived in Williams on Labor Day in 1972, becoming very active in local organizations as they raised their five children here — Cheryl, Buddy, Barb, Todd and Amy. They now have 10 grandchildren and are still very involved in the Williams community.

The couple moved to town from Freehold, N.J., where both were born. Bud’s family moved west to Avondale when he was 2, but he said he worked in Grand Canyon during his high school years so he was familiar with Williams and northern Arizona.

The couple met during Bud’s four years in the U.S. Navy when he was stationed in New Jersey.

In Arizona for his 10th high school reunion, Bud brought Barb to Williams to for the first time. She agreed to give northern Arizona a try so when a job opening materialized in Williams, they moved west. Bud transferred from New Jersey Bell to Mountain Bell and was eventually promoted to area manager with responsibilities for Williams, Grand Canyon, Seligman and Ash Fork.

Barb admitted her first winter here took time to adjust to.

“Every three days it snowed with 208 to 210 inches falling that winter,” she said.

Looking back, she said she’s glad she had a chance to raise her children in a small town and praised its caring townsfolk.

“Here everybody takes care of everybody else,” Barb said.

Bud’s first community involvement was as a 4-H leader. Soon after that he got involved in Little League. He was president of the local league for six years, then went on to become an Assistant District Administrator and the District Administrator the head of the State District Administrators Association for Little League Baseball.

Initially elected to Williams school board in 1974 when he had three children in Williams elementary grades, Bud is now serving his seventh term and has grandkids in Williams schools. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Arizona School Board Association for five two-year terms. He also was the President of the Arizona Interscholastic Association in 1995.

“I’m proud of my 26 years on the school board,” Bud said. “There have been no recalls and no real hard times although there has been some controversy.

“We have three new people (who took office in January) and work together as a team.”

He said the board depends on the superintendent and principals to make the right decisions and supports them when they do.

“If kids aren’t the bottom line, we’re not making the right decision,” Bud said.

During his time at Mountain Bell, Bud represented the company on the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the local Rotary Club for a number of years. He was also a member of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Reserve and a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Currently, Bud is a member of the Employee review Board for the City of Williams.

Bud retired from U.S. West (Mountain Bell) in 1996. Now he works for Table Top Phone Co., based in Ajo, and is local manager and combination technician at its Seligman office.

Bud is still active in Little League after 27 years. He is now a member of the chamber in Seligman and is active in Williams Community United Methodist Church. Bud is also treasurer of the Williams Area Habitat for Humanity and is Central Arizona Youth Football League commissioner.

Barb, a stay-at-home mom, began baby-sitting in her home 29 years ago. Some of the children that she baby-sits now are children of the kids she baby-sat for 20 years ago.

As her own children got more active in school, Barb became more active outside of the home. She became a Brownie leader, Girl Scout leader, 4-H leader and the Sunday school superintendent at church.

She also became very active in Little League Baseball as a mom, volunteer in the cook shack, player agent, scorekeeper and even announcer. As her kids got older, Barb started getting active in the schools as one of the original organizers of the Williams Booster Club.

Then as the kids moved on to college and life with their own families she started volunteering in the community as a member of the hospital board — a position she held for 10 years.

Both said they feel honored to be honorary grand marshals and are glad to see Williams become a rodeo town again.

“When we first got here, there were rodeos each weekend,” Bud said.

He said in addition to rodeos for adults, there were high school rodeos, Little Britches rodeos for kids and 4-H gymkhanas.

“I’m glad to see rodeos come back and all the improvements made to the rodeo grounds,” he said.

The three-day Labor Day Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association begins Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 3, with a 1 p.m. start each day. Events include saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback riding, calf roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Again this year, all the grandstand seats will be covered. Las Vaqueras de Tucson Drill Team will be back to execute intricate maneuvers on horseback

Besides the rodeo, there will also be the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Pro Divisional Tour barrel racing competition at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.

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