Local Shriners continue Homecoming traditions; visit Stub & Herbs

by K.C. Howard

Who says Shriners can’t party?

Not the Zuhrah Patrol of Minneapolis, who for the past 22 years have sat down, fezzes and all, on Stub and Herbs bar stools at 9 a.m. before every University homecoming parade.

Though their numbers were fewer this year, 16 Shriners still made it to their traditional bar on Oak Street and Washington Avenue for the preparade event.

“We stage our troops here, and we can have a refreshment here before and after the parade,” said Zuhrah Patrol Capt. Jack Annett. “I could only muster up 16 (Shriners) due to the Twins baseball game and the opening of hunting season.”

The youngest members of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, as the Shriners are historically called, made it to campus for a couple of Bloody Marys at Sally’s at 8 a.m.

“The older guys used to party a lot harder,” Justin Sibben, 25, said.

But by 9:30 a.m., the 16 Shriners dressed in fezzes, cummerbunds, tassels and classic “M” sweatshirts, shuttled out of Stub’s to take their places in the parade.

“Over the years this has become the funnest parade to do,” Annett said.

Among the floats and the marching band, the Raspberry Queen and Norm Coleman, the Shriners might appear lackluster.

But parade goers gave an exhilarated cheer when the patrol rushed the crowd in a “company front” formation.

“Go Shriners,” one student called. “Nice side stepping,” another shouted as the patrol marched down University Avenue to a one-two-beat.

When their part was done, the group meandered through the rally on Gateway Plaza and back into Stub’s for MGDs, Captain and Cokes or just straight Cokes.

“They usually come straight over for a drink,” said Stubs manager Nate Rantala. “You definitely see them here as soon as the parade ends.”

Zuhrah Patrol member Bob Rannow, 68 – or “Mr. Toad” as the Shriners know him – usually wears Mickey Mouse suspenders when he drinks, but Saturday he sported rainbow threads beneath his “M” sweatshirt.

“I just wear these to keep my pants up,” he said, holding his “Dr. approved marijuana” lighter.

He said he remembers the bar in the 1950s, when he used to live on Emerson and 29th Streets.

“Back then it was a 3.2 joint,” he said.

Last year, he and a couple of the Shriners said they were invited to a fraternity party after the parade.

“We were there until 8 o’clock (p.m.),” Rannow said.

Rannow and the rest of the Shriners slowly trickled out of Stub’s, with the last of them leaving shortly after 1 p.m.

Brothers of the Shrine include an astounding portion of prominent American historical figures, including former presidents Warren G. Harding, Harry S. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine was founded in 1872, when some masonries decided they need a more elite and close-knit fraternal brotherhood.

Today, prospective Shriners must become master masonries before they can join the fraternity.

The Zuhrah Patrol and other Shriner units raise money for local hospitals.

While they participate in the Homecoming parade strictly for fraternal advertising and fun, other activities help raise money for the hospitals.

“We like to get down here and let the fraternities know the Shrine is still viable,” Annett said. “We hope maybe there will be some carryover.”

K.C. Howard welcomes comments at [email protected]