“Don’t step around it. Step through it.” That’s what members of top youth marching bands are told when they march in parades. Whether a band is marching behind a solo equestrian twirling a rope or 25 matching palominos complete with silver western tack, the musicians encounter steaming piles of manure and streams of urine on the street.
In a 5 ½ mile parade with hundreds of horses, this could be quite a mess by the end of the route. But the Pasadena Tournament of Roses does its best to make sure no one ends the parade boot-deep in doo doo and the wheels of the floats don’t slip in the muck. The Rose Parade is staffed all along the route by white-overalled volunteers with brushes, dustpans, and trash cans to sweep up after the beasts.
Tournament volunteers are known as “white-suiters” for the white suits they wear when they are officially on duty, but for the muckrakers, the suits are simple white overalls and, if desired, painter’s caps. Some of them, however, decide that such attire is just not festive enough for the grand celebration that is the Rose Parade.
We captured photos of half a dozen volunteers at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado for the 2013 Rose Parade. They were anything but simply dressed. Take a gander at the list attached to this article for fashion tips on how to dress up properly for scooping poop on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.
Just how much raw fertilizer ends up on the parade route? Michael K. Riffey, Tournament of Roses president for the 2004 parade, estimated in this book More than a Parade that there was enough to cover the field of the Rose Bowl Stadium 1½ feet deep.
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After more than two hours of shoveling manure, these two lovely ladies were still in great spirits. They sported fashionable green scarves and crowns of red roses, and even decorated their shovels and pans with bright flowers. The red roses on their cheeks are a Tournament of Roses trademark; visitors to Tournament House receive them, and the Royal Court passes them out when they visit around the city.
White suits and overalls
The three white-suiters in back are wearing the traditional Tournament of Roses “uniform”: white slacks and jacket with a red tie. The ladies in front wear the overalls of the equine clean-up crew. No reason not to dress them up with a crown of flowers, rose-bedecked visor, and prettified equipment!
Cat in the Hat
The 2013 Rose Parade theme was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” and so Dr. Seuss inspired garb was everywhere, with the hat of the Cat being the most ubiquitous. Note the colorful striped socks, as well. These Tournament volunteers work as a team to sweep and haul the manure left behind by the horses.