Rose Parade Recruits Tons of Trucks to Tow Floats

December 30th, 2014 by admin

The traditional Rose Parade held on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California features flowers, bands, horses, a fleet of floats and a bevy of 4×4s to tow them to the pre-parade staging area. Floats range from 45-75 feet long and some weigh as much as 40,000 lbs, so the towing capacity found in one ton trucks is required to get them set for the procession.


A wide variety of trucks – Fords, Dodges, GMCs – and Chevy Blazer SUVs are enlisted, and towing duties are done on a volunteer basis. “We pull low range and only go up to ten miles per hour because going faster can cause the roses to blow off,” explains Karl Knoll, who has been towing floats for the past five years. Although diesels pull better, most of the volunteer vehicles are usually gas and there are extra trucks in case of breakdowns.

Everything ends up looking great on television because what viewers see at home are floats in their pristine state at the beginning of the 5.5 mile parade route. Over the years, there have been some close calls involving the trucks towing floats. Last year a truck caught fire and one year a power line came down when they were en route to the staging area. One of the trucks is on repair duty in case a float or another vehicle needs assistance, so it carries an air compressor, welder, generator and other automotive tools.

“The whole convoy has to stop when there’s a breakdown and a repair has to be made,” says Knoll. Rose Parade officials use poles to push up signs and traffic lights along the towing route so the trucks can move through. “In some ways, it’s like the ultimate off-road adventure,” he laughs.

The 126th annual parade commences at 8 a.m. this Thursday January 1, 2015 and is presented by Honda.

David Beran is a Copywriter at 4 Wheel Parts


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