Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Humans of Downey - Kelley


"I am the Construction Chairman for the Downey Rose Float Association and have been for over 25 years. I started decorating floats 36 years ago. My neighbor and his sister were going to come down and decorate a Rose Parade float. I wanted to go. My parents said, 'No. You're on restriction.' So I faked a pout, stormed to my room, closed the door, jumped out the window, then over the fence, met my neighbor on the next block and went to decorate a float. They were a little upset when I got back but they said I could have been doing something worse. I've been down here ever since.

"Back in 2000, I designed and built a roller coaster on our Rose Parade float and then I rode in it at the Rose Parade. We plan for every little part of the parade. Except for one thing that year. Where we were positioned in the parade was in the back. So when you're moving forward on Orange Grove, you move forward, you stop, you move forward then you stop. Well, the float weighed 40 to 45 thousand pounds. By starting - stopping, starting - stopping, it put a little more load on the transmission that we hadn't planned on.

"Now, as we're coming up to that famous turn onto Colorado Blvd. The one with all the grandstands and the TV cameras, I'm riding the roller coaster around and my brother is screaming at me, 'The transmission is boiling over.' I could only talk to him for a brief two seconds every time I came around to his spot. So I told him, 'I don't care...whatever you got...get me past camera.' So, I heard him yell through the float, 'Give me all the water. If I don't get the water, I'm going to pee on this transmission.' But once we got past that famous turn, it's mostly downhill with a few spots of uphill. After the turn it's a constant flow. It's not start - stop, start - stop. So, it was less stress on the transmission. Of course, I had to get rid of that transmission when we got done."
~ Kelley

Visit Downey Rose Float Association.

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