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Top 10 Tips to get into the Rose Parade

From Horsetrader staff reports - January 21st, 2010 - Cover Story

PASADENA — For many equestrians, one of the highlights of New Year’s Day is watching the Tournament of Roses Parade–and the equestrian groups which take part in the world-famous parade seen by millions of people every year.

The Rose Parade is shown in more than 75 countries, and nearly 1 million spectators line the 5.5-mile parade route. Jon Montgomery, equestrian committee chairman of the Tournament of Roses Parade, shared some suggestions on how to improve your chances of getting into the parade.

For any equestrian group who has ever wanted to take part in the Rose Parade, here are tips to keep in mind.

A Palomino from the Long Beach Mounted Police takes part in both Equestfest and the Rose Parade.

Chris Rubino photo

A Palomino from the Long Beach Mounted Police takes part in both Equestfest and the Rose Parade.

1. Follow the application directions and submit a complete application.
Applicants need to provide plenty of information to the Rose Parade Equestrian Committee. Compliance with application requirements and attention to detail is very important during the process, which involves filling out many forms and providing a lot of documentation: photos, videos, DVDs; and links to Web sites, YouTube, Facebook; along with thorough descriptions of tack, costumes, coaches/wagons, and parade-riding formation.

Groups should submit applications in a three-ring binder. An application is necessary for each member of your group. Include a photo of each member who intends to ride in the Rose Parade.

The group’s marshal should be clearly noted and submitted as the first application in the binder.

U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Courtesy of the Tournament of Roses Archives

U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Each application must include complete color photos (or copies of color photos) that show the actual costume that will be worn during the Rose Parade. The review board may not remember a prior appearance and will make a decision based on application presentation.

Make copies of the application for your files–submitted applications, photos and supporting information become the property of the Tournament of Roses and will not be returned or carried forward for consideration toward another year.

Download the application at www.tournamentofroses.com or contact the Tournament of Roses directly to request application information at:
Tournament of Roses
Equestrian Application
391 South Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91184
Phone: (626) 449-4100
Fax: (626) 449-9066.

Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Courtesy of the Tournament of Roses Archives

Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

2. Apply early and meet the May 15, 2010 deadline.
You don’t want to rush the application process by scrambling at the end right to complete the detailed application. Applications for the Jan. 1, 2011 Rose Parade can be submitted between now and May 15, 2010.

The application deadline for the 2011 Rose Parade is May 15, 2010 and allow a few extra days for delivery. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by Aug. 1, 2010 via U.S. mail.

All applications and supporting documents/media need to be reviewed thoroughly by the committee, so only those that are received by the deadline will be considered. Plan ahead and have your application in the mail early.

3. Have experience in parades and public events.
Safety is a primary concern; so all participants (both riders and horses) need experience in parades, shows and events; there will be no exceptions.

Riders must be at least 16 years old by Jan. 1, 2011 to participate in the Rose Parade. The more experience, the better for both the riders and horses.

“We want equestrian groups that are experienced in parades because there is a lot of noise and commotion going on. We do our best to keep them away from that, but you’re riding past a million people–it’s a big deal,” Montgomery said.

Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Courtesy of the Tournament of Roses Archives

Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

4. Show how your equestrian group is significant.
The Rose Parade Equestrian Committee looks for groups that will provide outstanding examples of diverse breeds, special tack, and exciting attire.

“Any group with a historical aspect or other significance is a plus to your application,” Montgomery said. “It also gives TV commentators something more to talk about, outside of the fact that we have outstanding equestrian groups.”

5. Look good both on TV and in person.
The Rose Parade is a spectator event, so your equestrian group needs to have visual appeal. “We’re looking for groups that are bright, vibrant and have great eye appeal for TV,” Montgomery said.

6. Be able to participate in the Equestfest pre-parade event.
As part of the Tournament of Roses equestrian experience, your unit is requested to participate in Equestfest; a performance exhibition staged at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, with the date to be announced, but usually held near the end of December, in the covered Equidome at Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank.

Equestfest is very popular with participants and the 4,000 attendees who are allowed to visit the paddock and stable areas.

Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Courtesy of the Tournament of Roses Archives

Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Riding groups will perform in the Equidome and allow the public an opportunity to speak with you. Showmanship in the ring especially tricks, drills, dancing and games are wanted for this event.

In the application, tell how you will be participating or performing during Equestfest and include an appropriate DVD, video or explanation if possible.

7. Prior Rose Parade participants should apply again.
While some groups may have appeared in the Rose Parade several times, there are no guaranteed invitations. Apply again.

8. Previously rejected groups should apply again.
Groups who have applied for prior Rose Parades should not be deterred from submitting an application again; each parade is different and your group may be a great fit for this year’s parade.

“We want everyone to reapply; no one gets blocked out. It’s a matter of how many equestrian groups we can have in the parade each year,” Montgomery said. “The parade has been averaging 18 groups for the past decade; there were 23 in 2010.” The 2011 parade will probably accept more than 20 equestrian groups again.

Western Haflinger Association members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

Courtesy of the Tournament of Roses Archives

Western Haflinger Association members ride in the 2010 Rose Parade.

9. New equestrian groups are welcome to apply.
“New groups or anyone who did not make this year’s parade has the same chance to make next year’s parade, equally,” Montgomery said. “There’s always an opportunity.”

10. Consider if the Rose Parade is something you and your horses really want to do.
Taking part in the parade can be a fun and memorable experience, but there is also a lot of preparation and work involved with time, travel, endurance, and personal costs.

Also consider that the parade length is 5.5 miles, along with a half-mile before for staging, and half-mile afterward, in addition to very long hours and starting the New Year’s Day parade very early before the sun comes up; several hours before the parade even begins.

Questions: Anyone with questions about the Tournament of Roses application process should visit: www.tournamentofroses.com or call Jeannette Morales Collier, Rose Parade participant coordinator at (626) 449-4100; or e-mail Jon Montgomery, Rose Parade equestrian committee chairman, at: jtm55@sbcglobal.net

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One comment has been made on “Top 10 Tips to get into the Rose Parade”

  1. Wayne Powers Says:

    Jon _ Thanks for your suggestions regarding the Santa Barbara Parade. We used the pace car this year set at 2 1/2 MPH and it worked just right.

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