Families, fans enjoy Rose Bowl traditions

Dec. 31, 2012

by Susannah Brooks

The last time Stanford played the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Rose Bowl, Sara Schultz was 11 years old. In 2000, her whole family made the journey out to Pasadena from their home in Whitefish Bay.

She returned to the Rose Bowl in 2011, during her final year at UW-Madison.

Photo; Sara Schultz in 2000

Sara Schultz, 11, attended the 2000 Rose Bowl -- and came back for more.

“I pretty much made my decision to work hard to become a Badger at that Rose Bowl in 2000,” says Schultz, who received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Wisconsin School of Business. “I saw my Wisconsin experience come full circle as I stood in the student section in Pasadena, with graduation four months away.”

The Rose Bowl is all about tradition. Year after year, the elements remain the same: watching the bands and floats in the Rose Parade, gathering with friends and family to cheer on the Badgers. Some meet up with family from other parts of the country; others attend the game for the sixth or seventh time.

Photo: Sara Schultz at the 2011 Rose Bowl

Sara Schultz made a return visit to the Rose Bowl in 2011.

For many Wisconsinites, the Rose Bowl reconnects them with multiple generations of memories. Sara Schultz is a third-generation Badger, following in the footsteps of family members including her mother, Amy Kaumheimer Schultz; aunt Tina Kanetzke and uncles David and Eric Kaumheimer; and her grandparents, the late Jim and Melba Kaumheimer.

Growing up in the Milwaukee area, every family member learned to be a Badger fan early on.

“I remember watching the 1994 Rose Bowl from my grandparents' house — we got to stay up late!” Schultz recalls. “I was very excited to be granted a trip the next time around.”

Though Sara can’t attend this year, her uncle Bob Schultz plans to represent the family at the Rose Bowl, as he did in 1994, 1999, 2000 and 2011.

Bob, a 1982 alumnus in engineering mechanics, is now an aerospace engineer for Lockheed Martin, living in Mountain View, Calif. – just down the road from Stanford.

Bob Schultz has divided loyalties for multiple reasons: he received a graduate degree from Stanford, and has been a Stanford season ticket holder for many years.

“I’m rooting for... a good close game between both teams,” Bob Schultz says, with a diplomatic pause. “I’m not sure who will win the game, but I can tell you that the Wisconsin band will dominate that competition. The band really makes the Rose Bowl experience special – both during the parade and the game, of course. They’re tremendous.”

Both Bob and Sara Schultz mention their routine: staying at the Saga Motor Hotel on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, getting up early and saving seats to watch the Rose Parade from the front row. (“And shooting off Silly String at midnight,” adds Sara.)

No matter when Bob Schultz has made the trip, the experience remains the same.

“I think we’re doing the same things we did the first time we did it,” he says. “We’re still staying at the Saga, going down to Santa Monica Pier, taking in the sights at places like Universal Studios and the Reagan Library so the trip is more than just the game.”

“Of course,” he adds, “when you’re from Wisconsin, you dream about it all year long: it’s cold out there, but not when you go to the Rose Bowl.”

Though Sara Schultz will cheer on the team somewhere else in 2013, she and her family hope to relive some of the magic of that 2000 trip. With Barry Alvarez back on the sidelines as head coach, things look awfully similar to the way they looked that year.

In the 86th Rose Bowl, the Badgers defeated Stanford, 17-9.