Dueling frats fight for best float at Homecoming parade

by Pam Steinle

Fraternities FarmHouse and Alpha Gamma Rho are locked in a year-round rivalry that reaches one of its peaks during the greek Homecoming float competition.

Parade-goer Jim Rein of River Falls, Wis., said the AGR and FarmHouse floats were the best part of the parade due to their really nice construction.

The rivalry between AGR and FarmHouse occurs across the country, and members in both fraternities agree it is more tradition than dislike that keeps it going.

“There is a rivalry, but it’s a friendly one, for the most part directed toward tradition and not at the guys,” said FarmHouse member Jeff Nelson.

AGR float chairman Tim Kinches said the rivalry has been around as long as the houses have, but the rivalry was much bigger in the past.

Despite what Nelson called a friendly overtone, caution is still utilized.

AGR member John Larson, who lived with some FarmHouse members this past summer, said he would not talk to his former roommates until Homecoming was over.

“I don’t want to give away any secrets,” Larson said.

AGR began working on their float Sept. 10, and Kinches estimates that four or five people worked 10 hours per week until crunch time when everyone helped out. An estimated $3,500 was spent on the float.

In a much different style, FarmHouse began work on Oct. 1, with at least 10 people working five hours per night. Homecoming chairman Brett Mattson said the pairing had budgeted $4,000 for the float.

“The rivalry can be seen in the parade by the amount of work we put into our floats,” said FarmHouse member Joe Dahlen. “The entire University benefits from seeing two very attractive floats.”

On AGR’s “Goldy’s Hollywild Adventure” float, Goldy hang-glides away from a boulder, over a shark and into a Michigan State Spartan.

FarmHouse’s “What a Knock-out: A Rocky Homecoming” depicts Goldy knocking out a Spartan in the boxing ring, working out at the gym and emerging atop a staircase with his arms outstretched.

AGR won the float contest last year, with FarmHouse winning the year before. The winner of this year’s greek float contest will be announced Monday at the Homecoming awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

More than 100 campus and community groups participated in last Saturday’s Homecoming Parade of Stars.

Bobby Bell, a former Gophers football player who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, shared grand marshal honors with Ray Christensen.

Christensen is a recently retired broadcaster who was the voice of Gophers football and men’s basketball for 50 years. Both rode in cars provided by Ford.

Newly crowned Homecoming King Aaron Peter and Queen Shruti Mathur rode in a black limousine with the royalty court following in the horse-drawn Wells Fargo wagon.

An estimated 16 mounted police and 30 to 40 extra police officers were stationed along the parade route, said Nic Johnson, parade coordinator.

“Parade security was increased this year in an effort to cut down on underage drinking and public intoxication,” said Megan Prifrel, a Homecoming planning committee member.

Groups attracting loud crowd applause included the water polo team, which sat in a hot tub pulled by Capt. Party Time; the Vikings’ cheerleaders and the University marching band.

Parade spectators didn’t go home empty-handed either. Red Bull promoters handed out samples of the energy drink, the Cigar Guys threw suckers and cigars, the Rec Center gave away kazoos, and SHADE handed out condoms.


Pam Steinle welcomes comments at [email protected]