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Judges cast vote for Fiesta Bowl Parade winning float

PHOENIX — We have a winner, but we don’t know which one it is yet.

Judging was held Friday morning on which float in Saturday’s Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade is the best.

Several Fiesta Bowl officials as well as local children were able to vote for their favorite float, and they will get to lead it down the parade route.

Parade Chairman Jay Spector said each of the floats offers something special.

“The city of Holbrook float displays Petrified Forest and some of the red rocks up there. The Fort McDowell float highlights some of the animals that are native to their tribal lands. Then we have a life-sized cutout of ‘Thunder’ Dan Majerle on the Grand Canyon University float,” Spector said.

Majerle is a former Phoenix Suns star who is now GCU’s head basketball coach.

Spector said all of the other floats are noteworthy.

“The Dillard’s Queen and Court float is a fantasy-type theme,” said Spector. “The Fiesta Bowl float pits the UCF (University of Central Florida) Knights and the Baylor Bears against each other on the float, and the East Valley Institute of Technology float displays a lot of their different classroom opportunities out there.”

Fiesta Bowl Committee member Terry Ricketts thought aloud about which float would have the greatest crowd appeal.

“Is it going to be Dan Majerle? Is it going to be one of the characters on the floats?,” Ricketts asked.

Another judge said the decision process was very difficult.

“When you look at a float, you can tell how much effort went into that and how much dedication that those individuals and those groups put into it,” said Fiesta Bowl Ambassador Amy Ashbaugh. “I was just blown away by all of them.”

Neither Ricketts nor Ashbaugh would say which float they voted as the best, and they do not know how the other judges voted.

Still, they said they have a little bet between each other that the one they picked will win the competition.

“If mine wins, she gives me a bag of Tostitos chips,” joked Ricketts.

“If mine wins, he gives me the salsa,” Ashbaugh replied.

The winning float will be announced Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl Breakfast, and it will receive a plaque and ribbon to display during the parade.