Native Sons of the Golden West
Tournament of Roses Parade
A Link to the Past with an Eye to the Future” You have to go back to 1980 or 1981 to have seen the Native Sons of the Golden West in the Tournament of Roses Parade. On October 20th an opportunity was presented to the NSGW Board for the Native Sons to join forces with the Gold Rush Fire Brigade from Pilot Hill in El Dorado County for entry to this event. The Fire Brigade had applied early and was accepted in September. By the way the Gold Rush Fire Brigade has 3 members who are members of the Native Sons.
By then many of the deadlines had passed. There was no budget and Grand Parlor gave $2000.00 from the Infor-mation Services Committee, but the rest was on the parlors and members. The Fire Brigade was looking for a sponsor and it seemed like an opportunity for the Native Sons. The Brigade had the wagons, firemen, teamsters and a brass band. The Brigade also had access to the fire ladder wagon which is owned by Auburn Parlor #59 and is stored at the Pilot Hill Fire station. The Native Sons had thoughts of returning to the Rose Parade.
Obviously the first order of business was set about raising cash from parlors and, not surprisingly 29 parlors kicked in and money is still coming in to bring the total to just over $25,000 in 8 weeks. Simultaneously the other important business was to turn the sponsorship around to reflect that it was the Native Sons of the Golden West featuring the Gold Rush Fire Brigade even though it was after most deadlines. The changes showed up in most places, but it was not that easy to control what is said by announcers. It was decided early to have Native Sons members dress in attire of the day while the Fire Brigade was in fireman at-tire, which included the Brass Band.
There was some chatter that the Native Sons weren’t mentioned properly or wouldn’t be recognized enough. At the Equest Fest on Saturday December 29th, people were able to hear good presentations of both groups and see Native Sons banners and logos. Concerning the parade and announcers, there were at least 5 different television outlets broadcasting and they all had the same script which included a lot of information on both groups. Some were spot on and others were someplace else. They all picked and chose what they wanted to say. Remember the Chinese American Historical Foundation float caught fire just ahead of us and we had a fire brigade with us so that is a natural for broad-casters to emphasize. But, as we rounded the corner on to Colorado Blvd our name was proudly displayed on the bot-tom of the TV screen and our logo on the back of the ladder wagon was very visible. As a side note, most people don’t realize that members from our entry which included Native Sons and retired firemen acted quickly to assist and remove people from that disabled float.
After several thousand miles of travel and innumerable phone calls, the entry succeeded beyond its wildest dreams and generated a very positive outcome. The term ROI was mentioned in various forms by some individuals. The pref-erence is to think that ROI is an acronym for Real Out-standing Individuals who made this happen. That included a group of Southern California Parlors and members who saw the value and the Grand Officers who recognized this as an opportunity. Let’s not forget the 29 parlors and individual members who stepped forward to support this en-deavor. Because of the magnitude of this parade, millions of people, which also included the events surrounding the parade and the people along the parade route, and a national and international television audience witnessed the return of the Native Sons of the Golden West to the Rose Parade.