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By Justin Velasco

Cal Poly may be guilty of monkey business in this year’s Rose
Parade, but its ‘Jungle Cuts’ float proved to be top banana,
bringing home the KTLA Viewer’s Choice Award and the Bob Hope Award
for Humor.

The float consisted of a team of monkey barbers giving wild
hairstyles to jungle animals including a lion, zebra, giraffe, and

This marks the second year in a row that the Cal Poly float has
won the Viewer’s Choice award. More than 20,000 votes went to Cal
Poly out of the approximately 50,000 that were cast, giving it a
400-point lead over its closest competitor, RFD-TV.

Johnathan Jianu, the public relations chair for the Rose Float
committee and a third-year mechanical engineering student, said
this was the third time Cal Poly has won the Bob Hope Humor Award.
The last time was for 2000’s “Stolen Time” float, which featured a
time-traveling T-Rex.

“We’re very excited to win that award,” Jianu said. “It’s what
we were going for this year.”

The float is a collective effort by students from both Cal Poly
Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The tradition was started in
1948 by former Dean of Students Henry House, who died in November
at the age of 87.

Jane Theobald, a third-year landscape architecture student and
chair of the rose float committee at Cal Poly SLO said about 22
students traveled to Pomona from San Luis Obispo during the winter
break to finish up the construction. She said this was her second
year working on the float and described her team as “very

“I’m very proud of everyone,” she said. “Now we finally get to

After all of the mechanical construction was completed in the
lab here on the Cal Poly Pomona campus, the float was christened in
a ceremony that included President Ortiz, Associate Vice President
for University Advancement Ron Simons, the students’ families and
numerous alumni of the Rose Float program.

Ortiz praised the float as an “outstanding example” of students
applying what they’ve learned.

“This is clearly an example of the philosophy the Cal Poly’s
have of learning by doing,” Ortiz said.

The float then had to be moved from Pomona to Pasadena before it
could be decorated, a trip that took nearly six hours and required
a police escort.

The 30-mile trip was only expected to take three to four hours,
but progress was delayed when the float lost a ball bearing on
South Campus Drive shortly after leaving the Rose Float Lab.

Beginning on Dec. 26, volunteers began arriving at the Rose Bowl
for “Deco week,” during which the flowers and decorations were
attached to the float. Jianu said approximately 1,000 volunteers
showed up to help with the process.

To see a list of all the awards the Cal Poly floats have
received since 1949, visit

Reach Justin Velasco at:

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Paul Rosales/Poly Post

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Paul Rosales/Poly Post

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Paul Rosales/Poly Post

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38 a.m. The float was escorted by Campus Police for a 30 mile, six-hour journey winding its way to Pasadena at 15 miles per hour.

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