Sixth place isn¿t always a bad thing, especially when it comes to the Rose Parade. The Cal Poly Universities¿ float will have major visibility before, during and after the 123rd annual Tournament of Roses on Jan. 2 because of its sixth-place position in the lineup.
¿To the Rescue,¿ will make its way along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena minutes after the parade¿s opening ceremonies ¿ a time when viewer interest is at its peak.
¿This will be a wonderful opportunity for the universities to showcase what they can do,¿ says Ron Simons, associate vice president of special projects at Cal Poly Pomona, who worked on floats as a student 50 years ago and has remained close to the program ever since. ¿The Cal Poly Universities¿ rose float will be staged right next to the Wrigley Mansion before the parade, where the media will be conducting their pre-parade shows and interviews. It will be great for visibility for the universities.¿
The float will also be among the first to arrive at the post-parade area along Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards, giving the public an up-close-and-personal look the student volunteers¿ showpiece.
¿The process of creating the rose float spans over a year, starting when the Tournament of Roses team sends hints about what the next year¿s theme will be,¿ Simons says. ¿After the parade itself, the Cal Poly committee begins the theme submission process, along with breaking down the rose float ¿ recycling some parts and reusing others. The rose float build is really a six-month process involving scores of volunteers. The Cal Poly Universities¿ rose float is a great organization to be a part of because it gives students the opportunity to learn skills that they wouldn¿t learn on their own.¿
The float is one of five classified as self-built and is the only one produced entirely by students and alumni. Ever since Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo entered the parade in 1949, the floats have displayed technical and artistic innovations. Previous entries have won numerous awards, including last year¿s Fantasy Trophy and Viewer¿s Choice Award for ¿Galactic Expedition.¿
¿The biggest challenge is carrying over volunteers from year to year,¿ Simons says. ¿But every year we get a lot of new freshman or transfer student volunteers. Thousands of student hours go into creating the float, and it is always a labor of love. It¿s an addiction¿ it sucks you in.¿