Both Cal Poly campuses collaborated on their float “Jungle Cuts,” which was the first float to win two awards at the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena this New Year’s Day.
For the second year in a row, the Cal Poly float won the KTLA Viewers Choice Award; this year they also won an award from the Tournament of Rose Committee, the Bob Hope Humor Trophy. Cal Poly won the Viewers Choice Award with 20,788 votes, only 401 votes more than the next closest float by RFD-TV. Last year, the first year the Viewers Choice Award was given, there were only 10,618 total votes cast.
Jane Theobald, the program leader for the rose float program and a landscape architecture junior, said it felt really good to beat out floats designed by professional float makers.
The only thing that Theobald said she remembered when the float went by was “screaming my head off.”
“Once the float goes past the TV cameras I’m done, the head of the giraffe can fall off for all I care,” she said.
This year’s theme for the parade was “2010 A Cut Above the Rest,” so the Cal Poly design featured a monkey giving haircuts to a variety of animals including a zebra with a spiked purple Mohawk and a lion with a perm. The float also featured several mechanical elements including a toucan flying around a tree and a monkey swinging from a tree as well as a waterfall.
“Jungle Cuts” was the 62nd float to be made in a collaborative effort between the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona campuses. The work for the float is split evenly between the two campuses said Brandon Schmiedeberg, landscape architecture senior and lead float designer. In late October, the San Luis Obispo half of the float is taken down to the Pomona campus and the San Luis Obispo team members go down every weekend to work on the float.
Mary Young an agriculture system and management senior was the float driver as well as the construction chair. Driving the float was very stressful because Young had to stay up most of the night before parade to move the float into place, she said. Young is able to see directly in front of the float but uses an observer on top of the float to look for possible obstacles outside of the driver’s line of sight.
The San Luis Obispo and Pomona campuses alternate providing the float driver and observer every year.
Theobald said that around 1,000-1,500 volunteers came to help the float builders during “Deco Week.” “Deco Week” is the week before the parade which all of the flowers are put on the float. Michelle Ahlstrom, landscape architecture junior and assistant program leader said “Deco Week” is her favorite part of the building the float.
“I love Deco Week, it’s the most stressful and crazy week and it’s so much fun,” she said.
Schmiedeberg estimated that he put in over 1,000 hours of work on the float himself, while Theobald said she put in around 700 hours of work. She added that the team does take some time off working on the float during finals week but they make up for it with all the time they spend during the first two weeks of winter break.
Schiedeberg will be the lead designer next year to mark his his forth year working on Cal Poly’s float. He has already received the theme for next year and has begun to create the design.
“Next year’s float will be the most important to me because it’s my last float,” Schiedeberg said. But he still expects to be in Pasadena at the end of December in the years to come volunteering on the float, he added.