Pete Luchetti sat in the shade near the old striped pole beside the barbershop on 6th Street, leaning his chair back on two legs and resting his feet on a brick planter while Jeff Ragan did just about the same.
His customer's haircut could wait, Luchetti said, until after Saturday morning's parade went by.
It was, after all, the 14th annual Norco Horseweek Parade, and horses are to Norco as roses are to Pasadena.
The parade is the premier event in the city's week-long celebration of things equestrian, which this year included about 500 horses, ponies and mules--and one goat.
Rufus, a year-old kid, was casually attired in a red cowboy hat, striped shirt and blue dungarees with white suspenders. Rufus dresses "only for special occasions," said his owner, Faith Huegel of Norco, one of the few parade participants who made the trip down 6th Street on just two feet.
Nearly everyone else was riding --on horseback, in pony carts, or on the backs of trucks--for the 1 3/4-mile length of the parade.
Like 11-year-old Lara Hemerick, who, while riding a flat-bed semi-trailer, was quickly making herself hoarse by leading her Norco girls' softball teammates with cheers of "Gimme an N, gimme an O, gimme an R. . . ." Or June Transue of Huntington Beach, who wore an exotic green-and-gold Arabian costume to ride her white Arabian horse, Ruby Mist, down 6th Street. Never mind that her costume didn't quite fit the parade's "Spirit of Norco" theme. "We just like to be in parades," Transue said.
More in keeping with Norco's Western character was 12-year-old Mike Real of Glen Avon, who virtually turned his saddlebags inside-out to display the shoes, fencing materials and other gear he carries when riding on his family's ranch.
Despite his black cowboy hat and black satin duds, Real said, "I'm really not a bad guy."
Six-year-old spectator Neil At water was not concerned with either white horses or black hats. He was keeping both eyes alert for the hard candies tossed into the street by parade participants.
"Getting candy is the best part," Neil said, and he was not disappointed as the stretch of 6th Street he had staked out became littered with candy as the parade passed.
The street also was littered with some other things that horses tend to leave.
'Just Love to Ride'
But neither that nor a dearth of spectators--there were more people in the parade than watching it --put a damper on the day, said parade chairman Freddie Miller.
"We always have a good time, with or without a crowd," she said. "In Norco, we just love to ride."
The Horseweek celebration continues in Ingalls Park, at the eastern end of 6th Street, through next Sunday. Highlights include:
- A chili contest and dinner Monday evening in Nellie Weaver Hall.
- Horseshoe pitching and a wiener roast Tuesday evening.
- A gymkhana for youths Thursday evening.
- Horseback games for adult riders Friday evening.
- A pancake breakfast Saturday morning in Weaver Hall.
- Easter services next Sunday morning at Ingalls Park Arena.