Miss Idaho's Outstanding Pre-Teen, Ashlyn Allen, 11, of Idaho Falls, rehearses the National Anthem prior to the Governor's inauguration ceremony.
For hours ahead of January 9th's Idaho Inauguration Day ceremonies at the Idaho Statehouse, members of the Idaho National Guard had been crisscrossing the grounds of the Idaho State Capitol. Performers in the 25th Army Band cleaned and inspected their instruments at the foot of the capitol steps while infantrymen in military green combat fatigues set up a trio of howitzers in a nearby grassy space, arranging wooden crates of blanks neatly beside each one.
One of them, chuckling with a fellow serviceman on their way to a nearby parked Humvee, told BW
that they fire 21 blanks for Presidential inaugurations and 19 for governors.
Other, non-military personnel hustled about their business near a bank of white plastic chairs arranged before the capitol steps. At podium situated in front of an enormous American flag, Miss Idaho's Outstanding Pre-Teen, Ashlyn Allen, 11, of Idaho Falls, rehearsed the National Anthem. Many of the people bustling about stopped what they were doing to listen.
Soon a crowd began to form. First, it was passersby and warmly bundled attendees in puffy coats, hats and wool gloves. Then it was a string of invited guests destined for the white plastic chairs including members of the Idaho House and Senate, a handful of lobbyists and high-ranking members of the Idaho Republican Party.
Perennial gubernatorial candidate Harley Brown
But one of the guests drew more attention than the others: former gubernatorial candidate Harley Brown, wearing his trademark biker cap, leather vest, and smoking a long, brown cigar, which he put out with a gloved thumb when asked to by a woman offended by the smoke. Brown had received an invitation to attend the inauguration by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, who was sworn into his third term, and drove from Hollywood, Calif., where he said he'd been working on a television show, to attend.
"I figured I'd fly the colors literally and
figuratively," Brown said.
The perennial gubernatorial candidate made headlines during a colorful, televised primary debate against Otter, Russ Fulcher and Walt Bayes. He told BW
that his next move will be to run for President.
"I don't play the game," he said. "I put the bark on
Meanwhile, Father Len MacMillan of the Holy Apostles Parish in Meridian read a religious invocation, asking for God to give Otter the "spirit of wisdom and knowledge."
Just past the halo of suits and a corona of gawkers was Zachary Jones, who was waving a sign that read, "Save a wolf; educate an Otter." This past weekend, the central Idaho community of Salmon hosted a wolf-kill derby, during which no hunters bagged a single wolf (though local coyotes didn't fare so well). Jones said the derby was a "nationwide disgrace—and I'm speaking as a hunter," and advocated for the re-listing of wolves on the endangered species list.
"At least until Otter's out of office," he said.
Zachary Jones protests Idaho's treatment of wolves
One of three howitzers used during the inauguration ceremony