On January 2, 2012, dozens of large, colorful floats delighted spectators of the 123rd Tournament of Roses® Parade in Pasadena, California. Taking the cake, however, was Natural Balance Pet Foods’ Ford powered float. More than 116 feet long and weighing more than 50 tons, the “Surf’s Up” float featured the beloved Tillman who’s certified by the Guinness World Records® as the fastest skateboarding dog. In addition, surfing dogs and Internet celebrity “Norman the scooter dog” made an appearance on the massive creation.
Pulling the float was the Ford-built, 6.8-liter three-valve V10 gasoline engine that can be found in the automaker’s top-selling F-Series Super Duty Chassis Cab work trucks, E-Series vans and new 2012 F-650 medium duty trucks. The engine is accompanied by a fuel-efficient Ford six-speed automatic transmission and can be easily modified to run on clean-burning compressed natural gas.
"The Built Ford Tough 6.8-liter V10 is one dependable engine," said George Weber, President and CEO of Ford Component Sales. "Over the last decade, it's powered nearly half a million Ford trucks and vans. Every day, Ford customers across the U.S. use this 10-cylinder workhorse for commerce and recreation from towing a trailer to a campground to plowing snowy streets." Now, Ford can add the Rose Parade Natural Balance float to its list of accomplishments.
The float featured a beach scene with “live” waves created by a rolling white-water surfing machine. Atop the waves was a group of brilliantly trained dogs who surfed on more than 6,600 gallons of water. Perhaps the real showstopper, however, was the fact that the float set two new records: Natural Balance broke its own world records for producing the longest Rose Parade float in history and the heaviest float in a parade. In 2010, Natural Balance created a 113-foot-long, 84,300-pound float – but now that’s old news compared to its latest masterpiece.
Leading up to the big event, Joey Herrick, President of Natural Balance Pet Foods, expressed his comfort in knowing that Ford would be at the helm of the float. "Trying to set the Guinness record for the world's longest and heaviest float is no small engineering feat. That's why I was so happy that Ford is providing the engine and transmission to make sure our over 100,000-pound float will be ok as it rolls down the street for this year's parade.”
NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, who races a Ford Fusion, sat up front to help guide the float. Biffle and his wife Nicole are founders of the Greg Biffle Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping animals. Biffle remarked, “It was definitely an honor to be asked to be on the Natural Balance float because we share the same passion for the well-being of animals."
You may never have to tow the “World’s Heaviest and Longest Float,” but it’s good to know that a Ford F-Series Super Duty is up to the task.