WASHINGTON — Dr. Roger Daniels rode in his first inaugural parade in 1981, when the Sacramento County Sheriff's Mounted Posse came to the nation's capital to celebrate President Reagan's swearing-in.
"I was of course eight years younger and a little more agile," Daniels, 73, a retired physician, recalled late Friday as he rested in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial after a long, windy, chilly ride in another inauguration.
Daniels' unit served as Reagan's Honor Guard during his eight years as governor of California. As a result, the posse was invited to ride its golden palominos at Reagan's two inaugurations, and it was asked to come back once again this year, representing California in the inaugural parade here while Reagan was flying back home.
Talks of Parting of Ways
Were they sorry to see Reagan, their longtime friend and patron, leave office?
Not really, Daniels said. "He (Reagan) is a horseman. He's older than I am, and I don't want to go back to work. I want to ride my horse and have some fun. He (Reagan) has served his time, and (President) Bush will do a good job."
The posse is made up of business and professional men and women who serve as reserve deputy sheriffs in Sacramento. Every member of the posse must buy his or her own horse, saddle and equipment.
The Californians were particularly happy to have a chance to ride at Bush's inauguration because they came to Washington in vain four years ago. The 1985 parade was canceled because of frigid weather.
"You truck 20 horses and 40 people across the country, that's a little disappointing," Francis W. Cox, the 74-year-old elder statesman of the posse, said of the cancellation four years ago.
This year the posse loaded its horses into two vans on Jan. 13 to begin the long drive from Sacramento to Washington. "We spent a full day off in Oklahoma City, and we unloaded in Memphis," said Gene Cox, a retired equine nutritionist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The vans and the horses finally arrived in Washington Wednesday.
By Friday afternoon, when the posse rode down Pennsylvania Avenue, the weather was blustery and cold. "This is a little different from riding in California and I even live in the foothills above Sacramento," said Jennifer Linn-Kidwell, the only woman riding in the group.
But the members of the posse had no serious complaints. "We had a lot of fun," said Dale Shimon, a retired American Airlines pilot. "We did a parade drill for the kids."
"We've paraded in a lot of places but I've never seen as much appreciation as we get at an inaugural parade," Daniels observed.
One Other Change Noted
For the Californians, there was one other change at the inauguration this year.
Four years ago, when the parade was canceled, many members of the posse went to the inaugural ball. This year, most of the Californians were passing up the ball and other social activities connected with Bush's inauguration.
"I went to the inaugural ball last time and it was just a lot of who-can-outdress-who, who-can-out-snob-who," Linn-Kidwell said. "The ticket cost $125. I can get that kind of treatment in California without paying for it."