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Bid for Roses : New Year's Parade Auction Puts Riders on Float, Helps Tote Barge

November 20, 1986|ROY H. CAMPBELL | Times Staff Writer

Perhaps the Glendale Tournament of Roses float committee remembered the near-fiasco when they needed 32 men as make-believe cart-bearers to accompany their Biblical-theme entry in the 1983 parade.

The committee plastered the city with "men wanted" posters. But, after interested males learned that they would be clad in nothing except revealing flap skirts, there were few takers. Committee members and city employees ended up drafting other family members and boyfriends.

This year, they took no chances. To get eight volunteers and to help raise the $80,000 to build an elaborate Egyptian barge float, the committee decided to hold a fund-raising contest. Civic groups and individuals were invited to bid to place a candidate on the float. Anybody at least 18 years old and at least 5 feet, 3 inches tall who lives, works or studies in Glendale was invited to apply.

Top Bid of $1,568

The top bid of $1,568 came from Brian Knapp, a 22-year-old real estate appraiser who has more than enough muscles to portray an oarsman on Cleopatra's barge.

"He's quite a hunk," Judy Estep, the city's float coordinator said of Knapp, who is a body builder with several physique-contest titles to his credit.

"It's going to be a little cold on the float, but it will be a great feeling just to be part of the parade," said Knapp, whose bid was sponsored by the Glendale Board of Realtors.

Dressed in a scanty tunic, Knapp will ride the float with three other men and four women who secured spots with a total $5,000 worth of bids, the lowest of which was $200.

Also on board will be Miss Glendale and her court, representing Cleopatra and her servants, and the mayor as the barge captain. The float is called "Jewel of the Nile," a play on the city's nickname, the Jewel City.

Knapp, who graduated from Glendale High School, has twice been named Mr. Foothills and was runner-up in the Southern California and Pacific Coast body-building championships. The 220-pound, 6-foot, 1-inch appraiser said he will soon begin training for the 1988 Mr. America contest.

Change in Funding

Until 1978, when Proposition 13 caused budget cuts, Glendale's city government provided all the money for the annual Rose Parade floats. Since then, the private float committee has raised about 75% of the cost each year.

To do so, the committee holds classic-car exhibits, tennis and golf tournaments and dances to keep up with the spiraling costs of building the floats. This year's $80,000 entry is almost double the price of last year's float, which depicted California gold miners and their mail-order brides.

The auction for riders, a new fund-raising technique in Glendale, has helped bring in nearly $40,000, said Carvel Gay, chairman of the 25-member panel. Other money-making events are planned.

Costs have gone up so much, Gay said, because, with tougher competition for prizes, the design is more ambitious.

This year's float and the four previous Glendale entries were designed by C. E. Bent & Son of Pasadena. In 1983, Glendale won the parade's Grand Marshal Award. Complete with four live camels and the 32 bearers, the float depicted the arrival of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau.

Besides Knapp, the winnings bidders are: Rob McKay, a Glendale resident and University of San Diego student; George McCullough, parks and recreation commissioner, and his wife, Donna; Jane Legget, of the Days of Verdugo Assn.; Cindy-Lu Gans, a city employee, and Luanna Lindsey, an employee of One Central Bank. The eighth spot is still open for bidding, city officials said.

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