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Volume 70, Issue 100, Friday, February 25, 2005

News

Cougars to lead Rodeo Parade

Event may help UH receive recognition from community

By Jennifer Jackson
The Daily Cougar

The Cougar Marching Band has been in the Rodeo Parade for years, but never as the leader of the pack -- until now.

Though the parade is a 67-year-old Houston institution, band director David Bertman said the marching bands from The University of Texas and Texas A&M University have always led the parade, while UH has been relegated to a position farther back in line.

Bertman said Saturday morning's parade is an opportunity to showcase the University to the community, and it may even present an entirely different perception of UH.


The Cougar Marching Band will lead the Rodeo Parade downtown Saturday for the first time in the parade's 67-year history.
Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

But Bertman said his enthusiasm may not be shared by all the band members, who will be up at 6 a.m. Saturday. Still, he said he thinks they'll be proud to represent the University. 

"I think these kids have a sense of duty and commitment to their university," he said. "And they're just wonderful -- they're great kids."

Freshman band member Heidi Holloway agreed.

"Six o'clock is not an hour I want to see, but I think it will be fun to be first in the parade," she said.

Some other band members weren't so positive. Freshman Jared Flyn said upperclassmen have warned him that the rough two-mile route will be long and tiring.

Senior Stephen Lowery said he's excited by how far the band has come since he was a freshman, when the band had 87 members. This year, it counts nearly 300 members, Bertman said. 

"I think it's pretty cool to finally get to be at the front," Lowery said. "(The Rodeo) is in Houston, and I'm tired of A&M and UT leading the parade."

The three schools' bands will now be on a rotating schedule, giving each university the chance to lead the parade every three years.

With the current Saturday forecast predicting rain and chilly temperatures, Bertman said there is a possibility the band might be downsized or won't get to play at all, but the parade will go on.

"These people come from all over Texas (for the parade)," he said, "so maybe we'll be in raincoats."

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Smith Street and Texas Avenue downtown. For more information, visit www.rodeohouston.com.
 

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