La Cañada Flintridge Rose Parade float

Volunteer Arlene Buchmann, with the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, grinds down sharp edges on their float entry on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (Photo by Mike Mullen / December 13, 2013)

Arlene Buchmann has always enjoyed sewing, but she has never constructed a pair of pants for a giant.

On Saturday afternoon, Buchmann was fitting green canvas fabric over the frame of one of the legs of a 17-foot-tall dogcatcher. She asked another La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Rose Assn. volunteer to hit a switch to power the legs. She studied how the fabric moved with the animation.

“There’s going to be a lot of tailoring on this guy,” she said.

When the association’s Rose Parade entry, “Dog Gone!”, drives down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on New Year’s Day, parade-goers will see a dogcatcher running after a group of five dogs who have stolen his truck.

The 1930s-style truck on the float will move in different directions in such a way as to mimic the movement of driving on a country dirt road. But one of the hardest and key elements of the float is the dogcatcher, whose movements required complex engineering.

Volunteers will be able to change the speed of the dogcatcher’s legs during the parade, said Dustin Crumb, a mechanical engineer who has worked on 21 Rose floats, including the latest La Cañada entry.

Crumb watched videos online to get ideas on how to construct the dog catcher’s joint and ankle motion. The entire design runs on one hydraulic motor, he said.

Last year, the La Cañada float that Crumb worked on won best animation. The float, “Dino-Soar,” featured 38 moving parts.

Ann Neilson, the president of the La Cañada float association, said she thinks its 2014 float entry is a strong contender to pick up another animation award. Its amusing design could also put it in the running for a humor award.

The float was designed by Jacob Maitless, based on a suggestion from an eighth-grade girl who lives in Orange County.

Early on Saturday morning, volunteers took the float on a test drive on Hampton Road during an inspection by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Then they took to painting, sewing, and welding.

“It looked really good,” said Neilson.

The La Cañada association hit a bump during their float construction in October when thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment. But the community responded with donations that the association used to replace the equipment.

“This community has been very generous,” said Neilson. “They continue to come through with extra donations.”

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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