Kids Take the Field at the Northwestern Mutual Youth Football Clinic featuring Marcus Robertson and Chad Brown

On Saturday, June 18, more than 200 children from Southern California, ran out on the field at Rose Bowl Stadium to take part in the Northwestern Mutual Youth Football Clinic featuring Marcus Robertson and Chad Brown.

The event, hosted by the Rose Bowl Game and the City of Pasadena, was a free half-day clinic that gave attendees the chance to work with college football coaches; run offensive, defensive and agility drills; learn proper techniques to promote on-field safety; and learn about the importance of character development and good sportsmanship.

“The Rose Bowl Game’s annual youth football clinic began in 2010 and it’s really evolved through the years,” said Brittany Mohr, Senior Manager of Team and Conference Operations of the Rose Bowl Game. “With the support of our partners at Northwestern Mutual and the City of Pasadena, this year’s clinic was one of our most successful clinics to date and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

For the first time in the clinic’s history, the event took place at the Rose Bowl Stadium and included community booths at the Court of Champions and a chance for parents to receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.

“This year’s clinic gave us an opportunity to engage our community in a way that we’ve never done before,” said LaWayne Williams, Senior Director of Community Relations at the Tournament of Roses. “It’s all about giving back to the youth in our area and for the first time in its history, we also worked with local organizations to have a community activation space that both kids and parents could enjoy.”


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American Honda and the Tournament of Roses: Still Blooming After 56 Years

In 1959, American Honda was established in a storefront on Pico Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles.  Two years later, looking for ways to become part of American society and the local community, the fledgling company agreed to partner with the Tournament of Roses for the 1962 Rose Parade, supplying two-wheel vehicles for Parade operations.  It was from these humble beginnings that a long and successful partnership was born.

“The relationship between Honda and the Tournament of Roses has grown organically over the years,” said Steve Morikawa, vice president, Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility for American Honda.  “But at its heart, our participation has always been about wishing families a happy new year.”

1971 Tournament of Roses volunteer members on official Honda scooters.

1971 Tournament of Roses volunteer members on official Honda scooters.

What started as two-wheeled vehicles has grown many times over.  Though the years, many Honda products have been called into service on New Year’s Day, including generators, automobiles and scooters.   Honda became the official vehicle in 1994, providing automobiles and vans for official Tournament transportation needs, as well as all the now-ubiquitous motor scooters used by white-suited Tournament volunteers.  Honda’s multipurpose utility vehicle, Big Red, made its Rose Parade debut in 2010.

As the Parade has grown and evolved, so has the relationship with Honda.  The company became the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Rose Parade in 2011 (the only company to ever hold this distinction), and the sponsor of the opening show extravaganza in 2015.

2015 Honda Opening Show

2015 Honda Opening Show

Honda has also been a float participant for 40 years, bringing its “Challenging Spirit” to the Parade by entering floats that are innovative and unique, a philosophy that has led to some spectacular sights on New Year’s Day, including a 207-foot- long train laden with fireworks; a working roller-coaster; and a 50 foot-tall humanoid robot, to name just a few.

As the presenting sponsor, Honda’s float introduces the Parade theme and is no longer part of the judging process, but prior to 2011, Honda’s entries were award-winners, earning 15 trophies between 1995 and 2010.

Honda and the Tournament of Roses also employ Honda’s innovative environmental technologies to help the Parade function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint.  For the past seven years, Honda’s float has been propelled by a specially configured hybrid, low-emission engine to help the float function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint. And, the parade theme banner is also powered by a low emission Honda hybrid engine.

Honda and the Tournament of Roses have worked side-by-side for more than 50 years to bring entertainment and tradition to people around the world and to enhance the Southern California communities in which we all work and live.  The Tournament of Roses is proud to have Honda as a partner in America’s New Year Celebration.

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2016 American Honda “Nature’s Hope”

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History of the Rose Bowl Game Trophy

TROPHY 32814_046Since the first Rose Bowl Game, when Michigan played Stanford at Tournament Park, three different championship trophies have represented the Rose Bowl Game.

The first trophy, known as the Helms Trophy (Helms Hall of Fame), was a “perpetual trophy” presented to the winner of the game each year. This trophy used from 1902 through 1989 was given a new inscription each year with the name of the winning university. This large silver bowl is sculpted in roses and includes intricate design details.

Prior to 1989, the Rose Bowl Game champion did not receive their own trophy to take back to campus. However, the teams in the 1942 Rose Bowl Game, the only game played outside of Pasadena in Durham, North Carolina due to concerns surrounding World War II, did receive their own trophy. That year, host Duke University created a trophy for the victor of that year’s game, Oregon State also adding the names of the players and staff. The Duke University team was awarded the same trophy to acknowledge the great effort that allowed the Rose Bowl Game to be played that year under challenging circumstances.

The desire to create a Rose Bowl Game trophy that could be given to the winning university gave way to the creation of the second Rose Bowl Game trophy. In 1989, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses commissioned the Pasadena Arts School to create a design that could be adopted as the Game’s second trophy. This trophy donned a gold football on a marble base with silver goal posts stretching up to the sky. This trophy was used from 1989 until 2004.

As the structure of college football post-season bowls continued to evolve, the Tournament of Roses began the creative process of producing a trophy reflective of the greatest college football game in America – a trophy that would be an adequate representation of the “Granddaddy of Them All.”

The Rose Bowl Game’s third and current trophy, the Leishman Trophy, is handmade each year by Tiffany & Co. The trophy is approximately 21-inches tall and features a 3/4-size football rendered entirely in sterling silver. A replica of this trophy is located in the football room of the Tournament House along with the other two past Rose Bowl Game trophies. A new trophy is created each year for the champion and takes close to three months to complete.

The Leishman Trophy has only been altered once since its inception in 2005 to commemorate the 100th Rose Bowl Game in 2014. That trophy was trimmed in gold to honor the special occasion. This trophy, truly one-of-a-kind, can be found in the athletic department of that years’ champion, Michigan State University.

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2012 Rose Queen Delivers Commencement at NYU


2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington

2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington



Congratulations to 2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington on being selected from her graduating class at New York University’s School of Professional Studies to deliver the 2016 Undergraduate Convocation Commencement Speaker- NYU-School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media and Business.



To read an article from NYU, please visit:
To view a clip from Drew’s speech, please visit:

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2016 Rose Queen Visits Macon Cherry Blossom Festival

In April, 2016 Rose Queen Erika Winter and Executive Committee Vice President Ed Morales traveled to Macon, Georgia for the Macon Cherry Blossom Festival.

“The Macon Cherry Blossom Festival was my first trip out of state as Rose Queen, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to start,” said Erika Winter. “I had such a wonderful time visiting historical landmarks like the Hay House, and learning about the city of Macon. My favorite part of my visit was meeting the Cherry Blossom court. The girls were so sweet, welcoming, and a perfect representation of Macon.”

Festival Visits IMG_2240

The Executive Committee Officers and Vice Presidents of the Tournament of Roses Association travel to visit other festivals around the country each year with the sole purpose of improving on our own parade and ancillary events.

Festival Visits IMG_2219

In July, Queen Erika will travel with Executive Committee Vice President Laura Farber to the Minneapolis Aquatennial festival in Minnesota to celebrate the cities famous lakes, rivers, and streams.

Other Festivals visits include:

  • Fiesta San Antonio Festival (San Antonio, Texas in April)
  • 500 Festival (Indianapolis, Indiana in May)
  • Kentucky Derby Festival (Louisville, Kentucky in May)
  • Calgary Stampede (Calgary, Alberta, Canada in July)
  • Aquatennial (Minneapolis, Minnesota in July)
  • International Festival and Events Association’s Convention and Expo (Tucson, Arizona in September)
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York, New York in November)

In turn, the Tournament invites other festival organizers to visit our America’s New Year Celebration thus allowing them to learn as well from the events and operations put on by the Tournament of Roses.

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Tournament of Roses Awards Two Scholar Athletes

On March 22, 2016, the National Football Foundation’s Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley chapter hosted its 46th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet. This event is held to recognize graduating high school seniors who have excelled academically, on the football field and within their respective communities.

Chico completed high school with a 4.06 grade point average, while Nguyen graduated with a 3.7. Chico was ranked as the top graduating senior in his class at Rio Honda Prep, was selected class valedictorian and is a Magna Cum Laude winner of the National Latin Exam. He was also named the 2015 Football MVP of the Prep League. Nguyen received an International Baccalaureate high school diploma, which has a more rigorous curriculum than standard high school diplomas. He is a youth volunteer with Grace Church of Glendora and works 8-15 hours per week at a local movie theater.

Each year the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley chapter reviews submissions from the 68 public and private high schools who participate in the chapter’s awards. Scholarships are then provided to the athletes selected from the various sponsors for the annual banquet. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses has partnered with the National Football Foundation (NFF), both at the national level and locally with the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley chapter for years, contributing scholarship funds for the young men who receive this prestigious award.

In the fall, Dominico Chico will attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he plans to major in Biology. Ryan Nguyen will attend Grand Canyon University in the fall, where he plans to major in Nursing.NFF NFF2016web-160


NFF NFF2016web-158

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Tournament of Roses Supports Renovation of Jackie Robinson’s High School Baseball Field

The newly renovated Jackie Robinson Field opened to the public on March 9th 2016 and had several representatives from the Dodgers, PUSD, various funders for the project and elected officials present.

The renovation was sparked by an article in the LA Times that brought to light the poor conditions of the baseball field at John Muir High School. Being that the school is the alma mater of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, this article became the catalyst to create real change at a school in desperate need of support.

Several philanthropic entities came together to begin raising money to renovate the baseball field at John Muir High School. The Pasadena Education Foundation (the foundation associated with the Pasadena Unified School District) and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation became the two leads for the project with respects to logistics and fundraising.

In December 2015, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association began having conversations with the Pasadena Education Foundation to discuss the Tournament’s potential involvement in the project at John Muir. By late January 2016, the Tournament had made an agreement with the City of Pasadena and PEF to ensure $10,000 be committed towards the project on the behalf of the Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena.

The $260,000 project allowed the field to be completely rebuilt, with new side and outfield fencing, foul poles, a blue windscreen scoreboard and yellow top cap in the outfield. The backstop and dugout fencing was repaired and new metal dugout roofs were installed, making the field one of the best high school baseball fields in San Gabriel Valley.

More importantly, John Muir won its first game on the new field a few days later.

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Suit Up!

The Tournament of Roses® welcomes 61 new members to its family

In Pasadena, Tournament of Roses members are as popular as the Rose Parade® and Rose Bowl Game®. Known for their distinctive white uniforms – which have earned them the nickname of “white suiters” – these individuals share a commitment to community service. They are accomplished and talented, the driving force behind America’s New Year Celebration® and part of the Tournament family.

Despite the 935-person membership limit (per Association bylaws), the Tournament family grows each year. Adults ages 21 to 64 have from New Year’s Day to March 1 to submit their applications and two letters of recommendation; whereupon they are scheduled for an interview with the Membership Committee.

“It’s inspiring to meet so many accomplished people who want to give their time to the parade and game,” said Katie McFadden, Director of Member Services. “Most just want to give back to the community, be part of the tradition, meet new people and have fun.”

Representing a variety of occupations in almost every industry, each new member will add a white suit and red tie to their wardrobes as they gear up for their first parade as a “white suiter.”

Representing a variety of occupations in almost every industry, each new member will add a white suit and red tie to their wardrobes as they gear up for their first parade as a “white suiter.”

Following the interviews, new members are notified by mail if they are selected and then are invited to Tournament House for an orientation. Here they learn about the history and traditions of the Tournament, relationships with the city and other partners, committee assignments and of course, the white suit.

Curious about becoming a ”white suiter”? Applications are available every January 1 and are due in March. For more on eligibility requirements visit the Membership page on our website.

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Louis Zamperini: A Life Full of “Inspiring Stories”

Aligning perfectly with the 2015 theme, “Inspiring Stories,” this year’s grand marshal comes as no surprise – Louis Zamperini. An Olympic runner turned World War II Airman and prisoner of war, Zamperini is a living inspiration having overcome multiple hardships, and leading a quest for forgiveness through his career as an inspirational speaker.

As Tournament of Roses® President Richard L. Chinen noted in his speech this morning, “There is no one more qualified to serve as grand marshal with the 2015 theme ‘Inspiring Stories’ than Louis Zamperini. His life story illustrates the strength of human spirit in so many ways.”

At the young age of 19, Louis ran the 5,000-meter race for the 1936 Olympic team in Berlin, but that was just the start of his inspirational journey. When World War II began, he retired from running to serve his country. Following a plane crash during a routine reconnaissance run, Zamperini and a fellow crewmember survived an astounding 47 days adrift at sea before being captured as prisoners of war by the Japanese navy.

Following his two years of torture as a prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini began his quest for forgiveness. He became a missionary in Japan and, in a true act of compassion and humility, he preached forgiveness to the very guards who tortured him during the war. In 1998, he was asked to carry the Olympic torch at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan – close to where he was held captive years before.

2015 Grand Marshal Louis Zamperini

2015 Grand Marshal Louis Zamperini. Photo credit: Brad Graverson, Los Angeles News Group

Despite all the hardships in Zamperini’s life, the twinkle in his eyes is undeniable. His unwavering optimism and his ability to elevate the human spirit are what define him best.

Zamperini’s story is the focus of two books: an autobiography entitled “Devil at My Heels” and “Unbroken”, a biography by Laura Hillenbrand – soon to be a motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie and released December 2014.

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The Lone Star’s Dragon Band returns after three decades

This December, 330 dragons will fly into Pasadena, California from Round Rock, Texas to perform in the 126th Rose Parade. While these may not be mythical creatures – Round Rock High School’s Dragon Band promises to leave an equally lasting impression on parade audiences.

Returning to Colorado Boulevard for the first time in 30 years since the band’s first appearance in 1984, the Dragon Band recently welcomed Tournament of Roses President Richard L. Chinen and his wife, Kim, to share their excitement and preparations for their trip to Pasadena.

“Being a part of the Rose Parade gives the students an opportunity to represent themselves, their school and our city in an incredible way that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives,” said Band Director David Mobley.

“The history of the parade, its tradition and pageantry really give the event deeper meaning for us and for all participants. You get the sense that you’re taking part in history.”

Katie Frock

Drum Major Katie Frock sleeps with her roses on the trip home after receiving them at the Bands of America Grand National Championship – where the Dragon Band was notified of its selection for the 126th Rose Parade. Photo courtesy of Jim Machajewski

Extending true Southern hospitality to the Tournament’s president and first lady, Dragon Band parents and community members kept the Chinens busy with concerts and the band’s Boots & BBQ fundraiser, where President Chinen presented Mobley with the official Tournament flag.

“A band’s participation in the Rose Parade doesn’t just affect its members and their families – but an entire community,” said Chinen. “Kim and I experience the excitement and pride each band’s participation brings from the community’s point of view.”

The Dragon Band is one of two bands from Texas selected to perform in the 126th Rose Parade. Can’t wait until January 1 to see and hear them? Watch their performance at the 2013 Westlake Marching Festival and tell us what you think!

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