July 21, 2024

Float modeled after Murray Freedom Rock

When Jim Hamilton of Osceola saw a Freedom Rock in the Rose Bowl Parade in California, he thought,

“I could do that.”

So, Jim set off to create his version of a rock made popular by Ray ‘Bubba’ Sorensen of Greenfield, with the intent to showcase it in this summer’s Fourth of July parade. And after several months of hard work, Jim’s float is ready to go.


Jim got to work in April painting the signs that go on the sides of the float. These were easiest to construct inside, when the weather outside was less than ideal. With his brother-in-law, they drove to Murray and took pictures of the Freedom Rock there, as that is the rock that Jim used as his inspiration.

In May, he got the trailer that the rock will go on. One of his sons, J.B., works at Highway Lumber, and was able to get Jim 30 pallets that he used to make the rock. Then, Jim covered the rock pallet with tar paper, followed by old tarps that he used as a canvas. On that tarp he painted similar scenes to what can be seen on the rock at Murray - an American flag, a war widow at a graveyard with a 21-gun salute in the background, and red bull, which is what the 34th Infantry Division was known for. In order to secure the larger flags, Jim got 300 pounds of sand from Bud Jones to use to make casings.

After a couple of months of hard work, the float is now ready to go in next week’s Fourth of July parade.


This isn’t the first time that Jim has made a float, nor his first time participating in the Osceola parade. In 1968, he fashioned a 14-foot ear of corn for the Lucas Centennial celebration of the town of Lucas. In Osceola, Jim served for many years on the Osceola Volunteer Fire Department, and they used to be in charge of helping stage the parade. Jim shared that they got to choose the order, and would often put the “best” floats towards the front to have the most impact.

While Jim doesn’t plan on riding on his float or making another one anytime soon - “I don’t get up and down like I used to,” he said - he hopes that his float will encourage others to get out and get creative.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.