LOS ANGELES - It's going to take dogged power to propel the world's heaviest and longest float ever in the parade.
Hot on the heels (or is it paws?) of some of the most beloved Rose Parade floats in history, Natural Balance returns in 2012 with a gigantic Ford-powered float that features surfing dogs. Starring Tillman the bulldog and his athletic canine friends including a first ever appearance of Internet sensation 'Norman the scooter dog.'
Sponsored by Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, celebrity canines Tillman & Friends will be having fun in the sun, as it's "Surf's Up" on this over 116 foot long float set on a moving beach with 'live' waves created by the World's first rolling white water surfing machine. After extensive training, the dogs will actually surf on waves in more than 6,600 gallons of water on a float weighing more than 100,000 pounds.
"Trying to set the Guinness record for the World's longest and heaviest float is no small engineering feet. 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," said Joey Herrick President Natural Balance Pet Foods.
The record breaking float is driven by the same Ford-built and designed 6.8-liter three-valve V10 gasoline engine that powers Ford's best-selling F-Series Super Duty chassis cab work trucks, E-Series vans and the new 2012 Ford F-650 medium duty truck. The engine is paired with a fuel-efficient Ford six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine also 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, 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."
The world record-breaking Tillman, holder of the Guinness World Record as the fastest skateboarding dog, is going for two new Guinness World Records on the 2012 Natural Balance float. Natural Balance will attempt to break its own world record as the longest Rose Parade float in history (awarded in 2010 at 113 feet long) in addition to the record for the heaviest float in a Parade. Natural Balance holds the Guinness World Record for their 2011 Rose Parade float entry weighing in at 84,300 pounds.
NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, who races a Ford Fusion, will sit up front with Dick and Jimmy Van Pattento help guide the float. Greg and his wife Nicole are founders of the Greg Biffle Foundation created to help awareness and serve as an advocate for the well being of all animals.
"I can't wait to see the float," said Biffle. "I've heard a lot about this year's Natural Balance float and I've seen video of the floats from the last couple of years. Tillman came to our shop at Roush-Fenway Racing last month and we got to see him skateboard. He'll be surfing on the float this year so I can't wait to see that. 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."
Look for the Natural Balance Pet Foods float in the 123rd Tournament of Roses® Parade, presented by Honda, on January 2, 2012.