LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Roundup Parade is a hallmark in the town’s Independence Day celebration. On average, more people attend the parade than even live in the town, and this year was no different.

More than 100 floats drove through the crowds in Livingston on Monday while participants waved, threw candy and handed American flags to kids and families standing alongside the parade route.

“We have anywhere between 9,000 to 12,000 people come to the parade,” said Jackie Feigel, assistant to the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce. For context, the population of Livingston is around 7,400.

This year’s parade route was different than years past to avoid construction in downtown Livingston, but the parade will return to its traditional route next year.

While the parade itself changes every year, the voice behind it has been the same voice for the past 70 years. This year will be the last year 94-year-old Louis Armentaro announces the celebration.

Armentaro has been announcing the parade for the last seven decades, but he said he’s been attending for 82 and has spent nearly his entire life living in Livingston.

“The only time that I left, I was gone for three years when I was in the military,” he said.

Armentaro was an infantryman in the Army and said he was stationed in the Philippines in World War II. He called himself a “professional killer” and said he believes the reason he survived was because his twin brother, who had died before Armentaro joined the armed forces, was watching over him.

Armentaro holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest career as a rodeo parade announcer, and it is a well-deserved record. He started announcing rodeo parades and rodeos in Livingston in 1949 and travelled around Montana doing so for 45 years.

He’s also been a railroad machinist, worked at a daily newspaper, was a substitute teacher and said he and his wife had 31 foster kids over the years.

Another staple of the parade are the members of the Algeria Shriners International, an international fraternal and social organization. The Shriners participated in a variety of floats in the parade, from riding in trucks to dressing as clowns.

“They were there the very first year the parade started and they’ll be here until the very end,” Feigel said.

Melanie Becknell, while watching the parade and working at a lemonade stand, said her favorite part of the Independence Day celebration in Livingston is the art.

“I love all of the art walks and, of course, the rodeo,” Becknell said.

As for Armentaro, he said he’s stepping down from announcing the parade because of his age so he can go out with a bang. But he may have a surprise in store.

“If I’m still in good shape physically, have you ever heard of ‘making a comeback?’” Armentaro asked with a smile.

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