South Dakotans Return Home From Rose Parade with Award

BALTIC, S.D. – The Hefty family was looking out at crowd for a far as the eye could see in the California sunshine to kick off the new year. These Baltic believers had made it to the Rose Parade.

“Really fun because all the way through that parade you’re riding on the float for several hours and every single person that you saw is smiling, waving, trying to get your attention and just excited and that kind of excitement level is really really cool to see,” said Darren Hefty of Ag PhD.

While this may have been the first year that Ag PhD, a media company based out of Baltic, had their own float in the Rose Parade, it was a familiar site. Darren and his brother rode in the parade nine years ago.

”There were people, I don’t know, several people deep on both sides of the street all the way to the end of the parade route where the last time we were there, it ended a few blocks before the real end of the parade so it seems like more and more people are coming out to see the Rose Parade,” said Hefty.

The farmers on the float were the stars of the show, making 102 people total along for the ride. The family-friendly float also featured seeds from all 50 states.

”My kids were walking around the float with me the day before the parade and they’re like ‘Wow Dad, what’s this seed and what’s this plant?” said Hefty.

This float put South Dakota on the map in more ways than one. Ag PhD’s “Salute to Farmers” float earned the prestigious Wrigley Legacy Award for most outstanding display of floral presentation. Hefty says they felt the support from Douth Dakota fans.

”People from South Dakota were shouting out ‘Hey! We’re from South Dakota!’ and that was really cool.” said Hefty.

Hefty says he would love to go back in the future.

It takes over 20 million flowers, 5,000 gallons of glue, 600 tons of steel, and over 200,000 combined volunteer hours to pull off the Tournament of Roses parade every year.

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