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Coming for 2015: Suggestions for an updated Rose Parade float trophy list

Isabella Coleman trophy is one of the most coveted in the Rose Parade.
Isabella Coleman trophy is one of the most coveted in the Rose Parade.
Laura Berthold Monteros

With 24 Rose Parade trophies and fewer than 40 floats qualifying for them, some fans have been suggesting that it’s time to revise the number of awards given. When asked about this, the Tournament of Roses said that the awards are being revised for the 2015 parade.

Which trophies should remain? Which should be eliminated? Which combined or redefined? Our list of suggestions is below, with the reasoning behind the choices.

Fundamental changes should include, we think, removing all length qualifications. It doesn’t usually make much difference in impact if a float is 35 feet or 55 feet, and since we are seeing more floats that have multiple small floats, it doesn’t make sense to continue these categories.

Naming trophies after beloved people in Rose Parade history honors their legacies, but awards such as “Queen’s,” “Grand Marshal’s,” “Princesses’” are confusing since these personalities do not contribute to the judging. We suggest that gradually these names be dropped and replaced with those of people who have contributed significantly to float design, such as Raul Rodriguez and William Lofthouse. For example, the award traditionally known as the Director’s Trophy was changed to the Director’s Trophy honoring Jacob Maarse in 2012 as a way of remembering the great impact the late florist had on the Tournament of Roses.

Here are Tournament of Roses Examiner suggestions for modified awards. Notes are in italics. We would love to have your suggestions by posting at All Things Rose Parade on Facebook or emailing

Keep these awards

Animation: Best animation and motion
Bob Hope Humor: Most comical and amusing
Crown City Innovation: Best use of imagination and innovation to advance the art of float design
Fantasy: Most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination
Grand Marshal’s: Excellence in creative concept and design (Rename to Craftsman to recall the thriving Pasadena Arts and Crafts movement.)
Lathrop K. Leishman: Most beautiful non-commercial float
Queen’s: Most effective use and display of roses in concept, design, and presentation (Rename in the future to honor someone who has contributed significantly to the Rose Parade.)
Sweepstakes: Most beautiful entry with outstanding floral presentation and design
Theme: Excellence in presenting parade theme
Tournament Special: Exceptional merit in multiple categories (Drop the stipulationincluding floats over 55 feet.”)

Keep these because

National: Best depiction of life in the USA, past, present or future (This is a way to honor our military or historic events. Some of these floats are done on very tight budgets, and can’t afford to compete with the commercial entities.)
Governor’s: Best depiction of life in California (The Rose Parade is one of the best representations of California there is, and this category honors its heritage and the heritage of the state.)
Mayor’s: Most outstanding city entry – national or international (Keeping the Mayor’s trophy might be a way to encourage more cities, nationally and internationally, to enter. It’s also a category that most self-builts qualify for.)

Combine these awards

Create a new award, Extraordinaire: Most spectacular, with exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact, by combining these three: Extraordinaire: Most spectacular, including floats over 55 feet; Craftsman: Exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact – over 55 feet only; Judge’s Special: Most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact. (These three awards have very similar criteria. The Craftsman name, which has meaning to Pasadenans, could be retained by renaming the Grand Marshal’s Trophy.)

Director’s honoring Jacob Maarse: Outstanding artistic merit in design and floral presentation should be modified to include President’s: Most effective floral use and presentation. (Criteria are very similar.)

Isabella Coleman: Best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use should be modified to include Past Presidents’: Most creative use of floral and non-floral. (Criteria are very similar.)

Eliminate these awards

International: Most beautiful entry from outside the continental US (Since 2002, there have not been more than two qualifying floats in this category, and sometimes only one. International floats can compete for most of the other awards already.)
Founders’: Most spectacular built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization (Of the six self-builts, typically three or four win in other categories. They have shown they can compete on same the level as commercial floats, so there is no need for a special award.)
Princesses’: Most beautiful 35’ or under and Tournament Volunteers: Best floral design of theme 35’ or under (If the size qualification is eliminated, there is no need for these awards.)

These are our suggestions. What are yours?

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