World Renowned Vail Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team Celebrates 40th Anniversary at Vail’s America Days Fourth of July Parade

One of the highlights of Vail Colorado’s annual America Days Fourth of July parade is the annual performance by the renowned Vail Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team (VPLCDT), a group of 16 men and boys with a penchant for fun. Their comedy-esque routine launched them into fame with a 1985 interview on Good Morning America.

The group, besides being on national television 40 years ago, is a perennial family favorite for their routine, antics and parody of drill teams normally showcased at football games throughout the country. Besides performing at the 1993 and 2001 Inauguration parades of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Jr, they have been integral in celebrations from nationally televised World Cup Ski Races to NFL and NBA halftime shows.

“The idea of the VPLCDT first began after the July 4th parade 1983 when John (Lil’ John) Rickert and Blaine Downing as Lil’ Johns Mobile Pour House with roller blading waitresses entered into the Vail 4th of July Parade. We were a hit,” said Gary Pesso, an original VPLCDT member.

“Needing to top that entry for the 1984 parade, Blaine Downing observed a brief case demonstration team at the Doo Dah parade in Pasadena, CA along with the help of Craig Campbell and inspiration from the movie Stripes they came up with the idea of lawn chairs.

“Incredible demand for us to perform in events nation-wide happened after an interview on Good Morning America by the comedy writer Erma Bombeck,” Pesso said. “We have performed at every Vail America Day’s event since that inaugural year except when their was no parade during the pandemic.”

“Over the years, our kids have joined us. That includes my son Oliver who first performed with us in 2000 when he was 2 years old at a convention in Denver. He was hoisted onto the stage in full VPLCDT uniform and a little lawn chair. Now, we’re incorporating the next generation of VPLCDT performers, and we’ll have 16 performers for our 40th reunion,” Pesso said.

“We’re sporting new uniforms, have incorporated some new moves and will have three new recruits joining, they’ll be the ones in the back row. We are the original lawn chair team, there are other copycats but none can do what we do,” Pesso said.

  • Watch the Vail Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team video here.

Sponsors of the Vail Lawn Chair Drill Team include: Lawn Chair USA for new chairs and Ski Town All Stars providing new hats.