Cal Poly Universities’ 2020 Tournament of Roses Float Dives into Ocean Exploration


SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly universities’ 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade float will feature an underwater exploration scene that would have made Jacques Cousteau proud.

The entry, as shown in an artist’s rendering, will feature a submarine navigating around a sunken shipwreck that has become home to colorful marine wildlife. The title of the float, “Aquatic Aspirations,” was announced over the weekend, though it was actually decided a few months ago.

“This year, we started our concept contest in January, when we collect concepts from the community and our team,” said Sydney Strong, president of the team at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

The Cal Poly team works on the float year-round with its counterparts from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. After reviewing 110 concepts, the Cal Poly universities’ teams narrowed the list to five and ranked them, before sending to the Tournament of Roses for approval. The Pasadena-based organization had previously set this year’s theme: The Power of Hope.

The Cal Poly team is coming off a successful year. The 2019 rockin’ space-themed “Far Out Frequencies” won the prestigious Extraordinaire Award — the first time the two campuses had received this extraordinary float honor. 

“I was so excited about last year’s float,” said Strong, an industrial engineering senior from San Diego, who served as decorations chair last year. “It was really, really a moment of pride seeing the float turn around the corner on Colorado Boulevard and getting such a prestigious award that we were never expecting to get. I think it has really inspired us this year.”

This year, the underwater theme allows the teams to play with underwater creatures, Strong said. “Cal Poly is kind of known for our fun, cartoony floats, so we’re excited to play around with something a little more elegant this year,” she said.

The completed float, which will be driven by Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering senior from Davis, California, will resemble a scene from a Cousteau TV special, featuring animated turtles, jellyfish, swimming fish, a rocking ray and swaying kelp. While a 9-foot tall Cal Poly submarine will rock back and forth, an octopus will glide 13 feet high while waving its tentacles toward the crowd.

In July and August, the team planted varieties of flowers at the San Luis Obispo campus that will be used to decorate the float during Decoration Week in late December. And construction on float elements has already begun. The next student workdays at Cal Poly are Aug. 24-25 on campus.

This will be Cal Poly’s 72nd entry to the parade, held annually on New Year’s Day. Last year’s parade was seen by 700,000 people in person and more than 70 million worldwide on television.

For more on the Cal Poly Rose Float, visit https://www.facebook.com/rosefloat.

Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering student who is also construction chair of Cal Poly’s Rose Float team, performs some grinding on a steel plate. Trygstad will drive the completed float on New Year’s Day during the Pasadena classic.
Walter Trygstad, a manufacturing engineering student who is also construction chair of Cal Poly’s Rose Float team, performs some grinding on a steel plate. Trygstad will drive the completed float on New Year’s Day during the Pasadena classic.

Aitana Martinez Huerta, a graphic design senior from San Diego County, welds the framework of a sea creature.
Aitana Martinez Huerta, a graphic design senior from San Diego County, welds the framework of a sea creature.

Contact: Pat Pemberton
805-756-7402, 805-235-0555
ppembert@calpoly.edu

August 14, 2019

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