The year they incorporated a jukebox into the design, Burbank loved it and forwarded it on to the top parade committee. Another float had a jukebox already, so their idea was scrapped and they went with the first jukebox entry.
But one unlucky year could not stop the team of Cotter, Cotter and Martin. In the last seven years, they've had two designs realized in all their resplendent floral glory in the Rose Parade. Last week, they earned their third.
“This was more nerve-wracking than others … we were the last ones (in the review order),” Bill Cotter said.
The Pasadena Rose Parade Committee reviews submissions in a predetermined order. So with Burbank's entry being reviewed last, it meant another float with a similar design would have been accepted because they were reviewed first. It could have been the jukebox all over again.
What helped, Cotter said, was Burbank's unique history. The 125th Rose Parade theme is “Dreams come true,” so for inspiration the trio drew from the motion-picture industry.
“Movies make dreams come true, and Burbank makes movies come true,” Bill Cotter said.
The float features a runaway train barreling toward a damsel in distress tied to the tracks by a dastardly villain. A hero on horseback arrives, and the whole scene is captured by a cameraman and a director.
Now the real work begins.
The Cotters, who along with their two children work on the float throughout the year, will now work with parade technicians to make the schematics. Then the welding, cutting and framing will begin. And in nine months, what exists only as ink on paper will blossom into reality.