COON RAPIDS, Minn. - For a couple of seniors at Coon Rapids High School, pulling off the homecoming parade was no small feat.

"Yeah lot of work past couple of week it's been stressful," Co-organizer of the parade, Kelsey Patriceli said Wednesday.

All the parts had to come together quickly but one part was cast, without question.

"He's an example of what Cardinal Nation stands for so picking him was easy to be our leader," Co-organizer Rachael Sarette said.

The grand marshal of the parade would be no one other than Red.

For 27 years, Mike Hardie, who is known by everyone as Red, has cheered on every Coon Rapids team from the stands.

He even goes to the away games, travelling with the teams by bus.

He graduated from the school in 1985, the same year his life forever changed.

"My understanding is he was in a pretty bad car accident, and it was touch and go for while, but he is a tough guy," Coon Rapids High Activities Director Kelley Scott said.

So when it came time to choose the leader to come home it had to be Red.

Red got his old football jersey off the rack to ride the parade route down Northdale Avenue and once he started waving no one could stop him.

And no one, could take that smile off of his face.

"If anyone should be the grand marshal it's him, absolutely," former classmate Steve Michaels said.

Red held court for 20 minutes and he could have given out his royal wave for days if he had a say in it.

But for the time it did last, well, it meant just about everything to Red.

Yes, kings and queens were crowned at this homecoming and kids got their candy, but without question, there was one big winnerand his name is Red.

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