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26th Annual
Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade
May 10, 2008

Logo for the 26th Annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade.

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Bugsby Gets an Unexpected Invitation

Do owners really look like their pets? Check out this YouTube video.

On Friday, May 2, Lynn takes Bugsby out for breakfast at his favorite McDonald's restaurant in Livermore (North P St. at Olivina Ave.). In Lynn's opinion, they have the best coffee so he typically travels the extra distance to dine there.

Bugsby hasn't been seen much around town yet, as he's only been on the road a short time since the serious freshening. As might be expected, Bugsby stirs interest from some of the customers who engage Lynn with questions about the car.

Lynn sees a small SUV pull in and park next to Bugsby. The woman who emerges comes into the restaurant, looks around, then walks up to Lynn and asks "Is that your car?", nodding toward Bugsby.

Lynn is a little taken aback. How did she guess that he was the owner? Lynn thinks about the clichè that people look like their dogs. Is Lynn beginning to look like Bugsby?

So Lynn asks how she picked him out of the several choices in the restaurant. She replies that he was seated to watch the car so she guessed that he was the owner. Whew! So maybe Lynn isn't starting to look like Bugsby. (In fact, this is the seat that Lynn always takes when he has breakfast here. It has a nice big table with moveable chairs so he can easily and comfortably read his morning paper. But it might also be true that he does position himself so he can watch his car.)

The woman is Linda Parker, coordinator for the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade. She invites Lynn to enter Bugsby in the rodeo parade that will happen next Saturday, May 10. Lynn gives Linda an email address and agrees to consider it. Linda will send him an application for the parade.

When he gets home, he does some internet searches and discovers that the Rowell Ranch Rodeo is celebrating it's 88th year. This will be the 26th rodeo parade, sponsored by the Castro Valley Rotary Club.

Way cool! Some of Lynn's ultimate goals for Bugsby are to participate in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and the Livermore Rodeo Parade. Just as he's using the participation in the LA Concours is an early warm-up for Pebble Beach, participating in the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade could serve as a practice run for the Livermore Rodeo Parade.

OK, Lynn's going for it.

There's only a couple of small problems. Lynn has only three free weekends before the LA Concours and there are lots of things that still need to be done. He will have to start working week nights to squeeze this into his calendar.

A further complication is that he's been having trouble with the car's two-wheel mechanical brakes. The car stops OK, but it sometimes makes a terrible, blood-curdling screech that offends Lynn's sense of mechanical manhood. He has been working on this problem for weeks, but he has not been able to quench the screech, yet.

More Color for the Showboat

Lynn orders stars-and-stripes bunting to drape from the spare tires.

Lynn already has two car flag sets, a three-flag set that attaches to the motometer, and two individual flags that attach to the front bumper. How much more flash does a showboat need?

Always looking for something a little over the top, Lynn orders pleated fan bunting that he plans to hang off the side-mount spare tires. He orders the material from the Pennsylvania supplier on Monday, asking that the seller expedite the shipment. He also pays extra for three-day express shipping.

Lynn half expects that the bunting won't arrive in time as it's his experience that shipping estimates are always optimistic. However he is pleasantly surprised to receive the bunting late on Friday, just in time for the Saturday parade. Yahoo!

Lynn will wear something approaching a period costume—bowler (derby) hat, a red vest, a Kissel pocket watch with silver chain and fob, pleated front shirt with sleeve garters, black wool pants and spectator shoes.

Lynn hopes that this combination of flags, costume and bunting will make Bugsby an interesting parade display.

As the time for the parade approaches, Lynn finds that he's getting more and more excited about it.

The Big Day Arrives

Lynn unloads Bugsby in a vacant public parking lot. (At least it was vacant at 7 A.M.) This will be the last picture taken by Lynn, today.

As Lynn doesn't trust the brakes on Bugsby for the 20-mile trip to Castro Valley, he loads Bugsby into Bullet (his car trailer) to be towed by The Beast (his truck) to the site of the parade. He's surprised to be passed on I-580 by Linda who toots and waves as she passes. Bugsby continues to bring Lynn an expanding circle of interesting friends and acquaintances.


(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Lester)

Bugsby parked at the curb, staged for the parade. Lynn talks with Lester (left), from the next exhibit in line, and his son, Andrew (center right). Bugsby's parade entry number "163" (right).

Lynn takes his place in one of several staging areas at the curb, marked by a little sticky paper with his entry number.

Initially the area is fairly quiet, but as more people arrive and the line fills in, the excitement builds and the atmosphere turns festive. Friends meet and individuals get acquainted with their new neighbors in the staging line.

Lynn walks up and down the line and stops to talk with the vintage car owners. He's particularly pleased to find a 1924 Franklin 4-door sedan owned by Robert Wittren from San Leandro.

Lynn decides to start taking some pictures of these beautiful old cars. Yikes! Lynn reaches into his vest pocket to retrieve his digital camera and it's gone!

Lynn starts to retrace his steps and drives Bugsby back to the place he parked his truck and trailer. He recalls last using the camera to take a picture as he was unloading Bugsby.

The area is now occupied by about a zillion police officers and vehicles from a variety of agencies. Initially told that the area is closed to non-law-enforcement personnel, Lynn explains the search for his missing camera and is allowed into the area to look for it, but to no avail.

Oh well, he thinks. Participation in this event is turning out to be more expensive than Lynn anticipated, but there's no profit in worrying about things that can't be changed. After all, it is his fault for not properly securing the camera and he should have been more careful.

Lynn returns to his place in the parade staging line. He's lucky that his son, Andrew, has agreed to attend the event and take pictures with his own camera.

Remember to Wave and Smile

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)
Some photos of Lynn and Bugsby in the parade.

The parade is a much larger than Lynn expects, and the logistics of orderly staging so many individual exhibitors is impressive. These people have obviously done this before as everything is handled in a very organized and professional manner with what seems like a minimum of fuss. Eventually three or four streams of pre-staged exhibits are merged to form the final parade. From Lynn's perspective, everything goes very smoothly although he guesses that Linda and the other organizers probably face down multiple crises, large and small, on this day.

Right on cue, the announcer reads the script that Lynn had written and submitted with his application. To keep to the requested 100-word limit for the announcement, Lynn omitted some on the small words, expecting that the announcer would "fill in" the missing words to make it "flow." As the announcer stumbles through the text, Lynn realizes his mistake—the announcement should be written exactly as the announcer will read it. Give the poor announcer a break!

The crowds are fairly large and enthusiastic. Lynn receives many complements on the car shouted at him from the sidewalk. He thinks that he hears someone shout "Showboat!" once, but couldn't be sure. Has someone been reading his website?

The parade is video taped and is played may times over the next week on a cable community access channel. Lynn watches the video and sees that he can improve his performance. While he tooted his horn to make some noise, his visual appeal would have been improved if he waved and smiled more. He also notes that helium-filled balloons are another technique for creating more energy in the display.

Bugsby Takes a First Place!

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)

(photo by Andrew Kissel)
Bugsby and a 1924 Franklin create a mini antique car show in the parking lot.

After the parade, exhibitors gather in the BART parking lot for a complimentary lunch sponsored by the Castro Valley Rotary, Chamber of Commerce and Saag's Specialty Meats.

The spectacle continues as a crowd wanders through the parking lot looking at what remains of the parade entries. A small band plays as Spanish riders and horses dance to the music. Miniature and full-sized horses and old cars draw the attention of spectators.

Bugsby is joined by Robert with his Franklin and the two 1924 vehicles create a mini antique car show. Many people stop and talk with Robert and Lynn about their vehicles. Some pose for photos with the cars.


(photo by Andrew Kissel)

Bugsby is awarded a first place in the "antique and classic cars and trucks" category.

Entries in the parade could elect to be judged for awards in one of 34 different categories. Lynn applied for Bugsby to be judged in category 32, antique and classic cars and trucks. Lynn was awarded 1st place in this category. Robert was awarded 2nd place for his Franklin.

It seems like the perfect ending to the day's events. But wait...

Leave Them Alone, And They'll Come Home ...

(photo by Andrew Kissel)
One of Alameda County's finest returns Lynn's camera.

Just as Lynn is beginning to think about packing it up and going home, an Alameda County Sheriff patrol car pulls into the parking space next to Bugsby. Hold on! The officer seems to be interested in talking to Lynn!

The long arm of the law has found him. The camera that Lynn lost earlier has been found by this officer and he's come to return it. Apparently it was lying on the ground in the lot where Lynn parked The Beast and Bullet after all. With a small sense of wonder and astonishment, Lynn thanks the man for the extra effort it took to find him and return his lost property.

Coming as it did, quickly on the heals of the 1st place award, after a successful parade, standing in the warm California sunshine with his son and new friends, it seems as if everything in the universe is going right for Lynn at this moment in time. As he drives Bugsby across town to his waiting truck and trailer, Lynn briefly wonders if he should go buy a lottery ticket. No, he thinks, I've got god's plenty. If there is indeed something to this idea of a lucky moment, leave the lottery winnings to someone else who needs it more.

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Last updated: May 24, 2009