Joey Herrick made a splash at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade with a passel of pooches surfing on a 65-foot long wave in a gigantic tank of water. In addition to winning the Extraordinaire Trophy for “Most Spectacular Float,” Lucy Pet’s “Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker” broke two Guinness World Records. Read about that here. As “Who Let the Dogs Out” boomed over the Showcase of Floats, we got an opportunity to talk to Herrick and Doc Karen Halligan and to climb the 24-foot tall float to video the dogs.
After Herrick retired from Natural Balance pet foods, he embarked on a mission to drastically reduce the number of stray dogs and cats and the four million that shelters put down annually. He founded Lucy Pet Foundation, named after a stray Chihuahua he rescued, and fitted out a motor home as a self-contained mobile clinic that can spay and neuter more than 120 pets each week. His goal is to have mobile clinic in every major city in the country. It’s estimated that just one clinic can prevent 120,000 animals being added to the homeless pet population.
Today’s Rose Parade was another wonder of the world. It went off without a visible hitch—no breakdowns, no gaps between entries, a good pace, more than a thousand Tournament of Roses volunteers directing the action, and law enforcement that was both present and respectful. There were floats that were spectacular, whimsical, imaginative, touching. The bands were spot on (except for a few ragged corners at Orange Grove and Colorado), the equestrians colorful and the horses well-behaved, and the vehicles for the dignitaries ranged from boron wagons pulled by 20 mules to a really spiffy 1937 Bentley.
By the time the spectacular floats begin rolling along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena on New Year’s morning, they have been through a rigorous judging process. Every inch of the float must be covered with some sort of botanical material—flowers, petals, seeds, bark, grass, fruit, beans, rice, and just about anything the float designers can imagine.
The Tournament of Roses awards trophies in 24 different categories for the outstanding entries in the Rose Parade. A panel of three judges examines the floats twice during the decorating stage and once a few hours before the New Year. One of the judges represents the floral industry; the others may be from different but related fields. Scores are based on criteria such as creative design, floral craftsmanship, artistic merit, computerized animation, thematic interpretation, floral and color presentation, and dramatic impact. Scores from each session are combined to determine winners.
It’s sometimes a scramble for the decorators to get finished and ensure all the animation and mechanics are working by the deadline, but a missed deadline means a missed opportunity for a prestigious award. That’s a rare occurrence, and not something a builder wants to tell a sponsor.
Here are the titles and descriptions of the Rose Parade float awards. Keep this list on hand as you watch the parade on television or along the route, and return to this space after the parade to find out which floats and builders won!
Animation: Best animation and motion Bob Hope Humor: Most comical and amusing Craftsman: Exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact – over 55’ only Crown City Innovation: Best use of imagination and innovation to advance the art of float design Director’s honoring Jacob Maarse: Outstanding artistic merit in design and floral presentation
Extraordinaire: Most spectacular, including floats over 55’
Fantasy: Most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination
Founders’: Most spectacular built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization
Governor’s: Best depiction of life in California
Grand Marshal’s: Excellence in creative concept and design
International: Most beautiful entry from outside the continental US
Isabella Coleman: Best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use
Judge’s Special: Most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact
Lathrop K. Leishman: Most beautiful non-commercial
Mayor’s: Most outstanding city entry – national or international
National: Best depiction of life in the USA, past, present or future
Past Presidents’: Most creative use of floral and non-floral
President’s: Most effective floral use and presentation
Princess’: Most beautiful 35’ or under
Queen’s: Most effective use and display of roses in concept, design, and presentation
Sweepstakes: Most beautiful entry with outstanding floral presentation and design
Theme: Excellence in presenting parade theme
Tournament Special: Exceptional merit in multiple categories, including floats over 55’
Tournament Volunteers: Best floral design of theme 35’ or under