Although the B-2 bomber flyover was delayed at the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade, which put Rainbow’s Brown family in a better position to see the flyover, the Browns themselves encountered minimal obstacles during the Rose Parade.
“It was a good parade. The weather was great. You couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Lori Brown.
Lori and her parents, Jerry and Colleen, rode with the Spirit of the West Riders equestrian unit during the 5.5-mile New Year’s Day parade.
“It was a perfect parade as far as I’m concerned,” Jerry said.
“The weather was really nice; the crowds were large,” Colleen said.
The parade was the eleventh for Lori, the tenth for Jerry and the ninth for Colleen. Two of those were with the Ramona Pageant while the remainder have been with the Spirit of the West Riders, who ride for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and portray characters representative of the American West.
Phil Spangenberger, the leader of the Spirit of the West Riders, insists on historical accuracy other than allowing the use of breast collars for safety.
The clothing, saddles and bridles replicate those used by men and women who rode the frontier between 1840 and 1920.
Jerry wore a high plains cattleman costume for the Rose Parade, Colleen wore an 1800s Western outfit and Lori modeled the outfit she made herself which was based on the clothing of Wild West show performer May Lillie.
Lori and Colleen both rode Arabians for the parade; Lori rode Moonlight on Silver Sands and her mother rode Juan for the Money.
Jerry rode Bud, who is also used for the family’s mounted shooting activities, while Lori rode Ben during her mounted shooting activities at the Equifest, which was held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank and features the equestrian units which will be participating in the parade.
Equifest took place on Sunday, December 28, which gave the Browns three days between trips.
Lori normally races Linda Spangenberger in a sidesaddle-mounted shooting exhibition during Equifest, but Spangenberger was ill and Lori performed a demonstration by herself.
“It’s always fun to have the race, but it was still a lot of fun. It’s great to go around the arena shooting, and Bud’s such a good boy,” Lori said.
Jerry performed in a mounted shooting rifle exhibition. “It worked out fine. I got all my balloons,” he said. “I was pleased with that.”
Linda Spangenberger’s illness kept her from riding in the parade, and the final parade lineup for the equestrian unit included 12 riders.
“It was a smaller group, but it worked out really well,” Colleen said.
The Spirit of the West Riders normally have 16 members on the parade route. The 2009 configuration saw four rows of three riders apiece, giving the Browns the entirety of the back row, Colleen on the left, Jerry in the center and Lori on the right.
Lori has ridden sidesaddle in each of her past parades with the Spirit of the West Riders. One of the other Spirit of the West Riders also rode sidesaddle.
“I think it’s nice because she was on the other side,” said Lori. “That way both sides [of the audience] got to see the sidesaddle.”
The Spirit of the West Riders were the 73rd entry in the parade, placing them behind the China Airlines float and in front of the City of Burbank float.
In 2008 the Spirit of the West Riders were the 13th entry, but riding later in the parade didn’t seem to cause problems from stalled floats in front of them.
“I didn’t feel any delays much,” Colleen said.
The equestrian units wait on Waverly Avenue before merging onto the start of the parade route between floats.
Normally the B-2 makes its flyover during the early part of the parade, but the plane had previously been in Missouri and had to de-ice.
The delay put the Spirit of the West Riders underneath the plane as it made its approach to the parade route itself.
“We got a perfect view of it from where we were stationed,” Colleen said. “It was exciting to see it that close.”
Since the B-2 flies faster than the speed of sound, the view took place before the noise. “You don’t hear anything until after it goes past you, and then it’s a loud noise,” Colleen said.
The theme of the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade was “Hats Off to Entertainment,” and the City of Burbank float utilized a drive-in movie setting with a dinosaur.
The Burbank float played music intended to evoke images of a science fiction or horror film while the dinosaur emitted steam from its nostrils.
“That’s a little extra stimulus for the horses to hear and see,” Colleen said.
“Moonlight had to turn his head and look at it when we were stopped,” Lori said. “He really wasn’t bothered by it. He just wanted to know what was behind him.”
Jerry felt that Bud disliked the music. “We managed,” he said.
“They did all right with it,” Colleen said of the horses’ reaction. “It’s more of a challenge that way.”
Ron and Dianne Dreher joined the Browns on the trip to Pasadena.
The Drehers moved the motor home from the staging area near the beginning of the parade route to the equestrian parking area near the end of the route.
“Everything worked well, but it takes days to prepare for it,” Jerry said.
“All in all it was a really good parade because of the weather. It was not cold; we weren’t freezing,” Jerry said. “It’s always fun to ride. Not many people get to ride with their family.”
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