A Guatemalan Adventure: Tournament of Roses® welcomes Latin Band Pedro Molina to 2016 Rose Parade®

One of the many responsibilities and privileges of the Tournament of Roses President is to personally invite and welcome each participating band to the upcoming Rose Parade. While some bands trips only require a short drive from Tournament House in Pasadena, others require international flights and translators.

Last week, following their band visit to Saratoga High School in California, Tournament of Roses 2016 President Mike Matthiessen and First Lady, Ann set off on an adventure to Guatemala to do just that. Check out Ann’s recollection of their Guatemalan adventure below–

“Our band trip to Guatemala to meet the Latin Band Pedro Molina was absolutely amazing!  We were thrilled to have fellow Tournament member Ernie Cardenas and his wife Isabel along with us to help translate as the highlight of all of our band trips has been meeting the bands and getting to know the students and band directors.

Mike presented the Tournament of Roses’ flag to the band in the plaza in front of the National Palace, where many Guatemalan bands had gathered and performed throughout the day.  Following the presentation, we toured the National Palace and then headed off to the band’s hometown of Coatepeque.

Mirroring the Rose Parade and its popular ancillary event, Bandfest, the city of Coatepeque hosted a festival which included a parade (that we all got to ride in!) and their own Bandfest, where Mike received the key to the city.  (My favorite part of the parade was seeing all the students of Coatepeque lined up along the parade route in the school uniforms.)

Latin Band Pedro Molina’s performances were lively, exciting and colorful, and the band members loved meeting "Mr. Mike" and taking selfies with him!

Latin Band Pedro Molina’s performances were lively, exciting and colorful, and the band members loved meeting “Mr. Mike” and taking selfies with him!

We were kept very busy during our stay.  Mike had many media interviews, including appearing on the morning talk show, Nuestro Mundo and meeting government officials, including the governor of Guatemala City.

On our final day, we had the privilege of touring the Mayan Ruins at Takalik Abaj Archaeological Park.  The ruins are actually considered a “national park” and we had a fabulous tour with their “ranger.” We ended our visit with a lively game of miniature golf with the band directors, Edwin and Jimmy.  As we drove back to Guatemala City, we were treated to the beautiful scenery of Guatemala which varies from tropical jungles, forests, and volcanoes.  Our Guatemalan adventure was one that we will never forget!”

Mike and Ann’s band adventures will continue throughout the year as they travel around the world to meet each marching band participating in the 2016 Rose Parade. Who will they visit next? Stay tuned to find out!

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Once a Rose Queen, Always a Rose Queen

As the longest living Rose Queen at 93-years-old, Margaret Huntley Main’s infectious personality and charm continue to validate her selection as the 1940 Rose Queen – an experience that shaped her life.

“Growing up in Pasadena in the 1920s, every girl dreamed of being the Rose Queen,” said Main. “But back then, things operated a little differently from today with the Royal Court and Rose Queen being chosen from only Pasadena City College students.

“I was one of more than 35 girls in the Pasadena Junior College district that had to tryout during our gym period,” she said. “I gave up on the idea of being chosen because I thought I was too tall. Most of the Rose Queens back then were no taller than 5’5” and I was 5’8”.”

Margaret’s poise and personality won the judges over. She was selected as a member of the Royal Court and shortly after crowned the 22nd Rose Queen of the Tournament of Roses.


In the 1930s and 40s, being the Rose Queen opened many doors – sometimes to Hollywood. While Margaret was offered a contract from Samuel Goldwyn at MGM Studios, she declined the offer to get married, continue her education and raise a family.

Like many Rose Queens, one of the most memorable moments throughout her reign was riding atop the Royal Court float as it traveled down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

“I saw what looked like a million people smiling and waving at me – the wave of love that poured out from the crowd was indescribable! I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t stop wondering ‘How did I get so lucky?’”

It was in this moment that Margaret vowed to always honor being the Rose Queen. She continually holds herself to high standards and returns to Pasadena multiple times a year to welcome the incoming Rose Queen upon her Coronation and attend other Tournament of Roses events.

Her advice for all future Royal Court members: Have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute. Be eternally grateful that you are having this wonderful experience!

Margaret Huntley Main congratulates 2015 Rose Queen Madison Elaine Triplett at the Announcement and Coronation of the 97th Rose Queen.


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“Find Your Adventure” in 2016

Building upon a year of inspiring stories, 2016 Tournament of Roses® President Mike Matthiessen encourages communities across the country to take action through the 127th Rose Parade® theme, “Find Your Adventure.”

Adventures can range in size and splendor. Through them we learn about ourselves, others and our surrounding environment – but first we have to find them.

Leading by example, the Tournament of Roses has embarked on an adventure of its own by collaborating with the National Park Service for the 2016 Rose Parade.

“As proponents of the American spirit, we encourage people to find beauty in the landscape that builds the backdrop of their lives,” said Matthiessen.

The 2016 Rose Parade poster highlights America’s New Year Celebration and our nation’s national parks.

The 2016 Rose Parade poster highlights America’s New Year Celebration and our nation’s national parks.

Both the Tournament of Roses and the National Park Service aim to preserve history, connect people through real-life experiences and engage the public in new adventures. Through this unique alliance, the 2016 Rose Parade will shine light on the centennial celebration of our nation’s national parks.

“Our hope for the New Year is that however you define it, you will find your adventure and enrich your life,” said Matthiessen.


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