Editor's note: This story has been updated with photos of Ed Hermsen’s Jan. 1, 2019, Rose Parade experience.
When the 130th Rose Parade rolls through Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day, Iowa trucker and cancer survivor Ed Hermsen can cross one item off his life’s bucket list: riding in the Rose Parade aboard the Wells Fargo stagecoach.
“Growing up on the farm, we picked the (church) mass we attended just so we could watch the Rose Parade as a family,” said Hermsen, a Wells Fargo customer since 1990 who was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and had an operation in 2017 to remove a cancerous right kidney.
Wells Fargo and its Stagecoach Experiences program granted Hermsen’s parade wish after learning of his love for the company’s iconic stagecoach, driver and horse teams, and personal service from Wells Fargo bank branches in Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
All were noted in a letter that Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan shared with the marketing team handling Wells Fargo’s participation in the Rose Parade. The company also sponsors the closing show and Equestfest, a Dec. 29 event at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, California, featuring hundreds of horses and riders displaying their riding skills in an arena showcase.
“Like Ed, so many people connect with our iconic stagecoach, driver, and horse team that we’re excited to again share through the Rose Parade and other holiday appearances,” Sloan said. “Every day, we’re thankful for the opportunity to serve customers like Ed and are happy we will make his Rose Parade Wells Fargo stagecoach dream come true.”
Hermsen will ride in one of two Wells Fargo stagecoaches appearing as equestrian units. A third stagecoach will lead the float that closes the parade and delivers the game ball for the Rose Bowl matchup between the Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Washington Huskies.
“Just to see the beautiful stagecoach horses up close, ride in the stagecoach I’ve long admired, and be in the granddaddy parade of them all will be quite a thrill,” said Hermsen, who lives in Dyersville, Iowa. “To me, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Wells Fargo’s famous stagecoach and horses have participated in every Rose Parade since 2006 but the company’s Rose Parade tradition featured float entries from 1991 to 1994. To watch, check the Rose Parade’s list of broadcast partners and your local listings.