“What should it be?,” Brezino wondered out loud. “What should we call it?”
“That’s easy,” Miller answered. “The Party of the Century.”
And off they went. This was more than three years ago, when the huge party was scheduled to happen in 2020. But would intervene not once but twice until finally that special day has arrived: Saturday, August 12, 2022.
Just days before the red carpet, the flyover, the celebrities, the dinner, the auction, and the music, Miller, along with her co-chair Angel Throop, took a few minutes respite to talk with Pasadena Now about the work going into the monumental event.
“It’s been a labor of love, a passion,” she began. “We love UCLA, and the Rose Bowl. We love sports. We love this community.”
For Miller, who came from the small town of Benton, Arkansas, population 36,000, where the Rose Bowl was something that only lived on TV, it was an honor to be asked, she said.
“It was really an honor to be even asked to do something like this and working with all of those people over there has been extraordinary,” she continued, suddenly feeling the emotion of the moment.
“The team of people, the camaraderie from the Legacy Foundation Board, from the Rose Bowl side, from the seating people,” she pointed out. “There’s such incredible chemistry and synergy over there that I choke up. I really have tremendous respect for all the people.”
Miller continued, gathering herself, “There are so many people that are involved and there are so many people that they reach out to. It takes a village! They have such strong relationships that they have built over the years.
For Angel Throop, the association with the Rose Bowl was a natural one, but it began like it has for so many, watching the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl every year on a small TV, as a child in Jacksonville, Florida, right on through her marriage thirty years ago to eventual two-time Tournament of Roses President Jeff Throop, which brought her to Pasadena.
Throop has a history of fundraising, going back to Jacksonville, where she was involved with a March of Dimes fundraiser that featured Martha Stewart.
As a Sierra Madre resident, she has helped with numerous auctions and other charitable events, including having chaired or co-chaired the Crystal Ball fundraiser for LaSalle High School, the Mardi Gras Night fundraiser for the Arcadia Methodist Hospital Foundation, and the Juniors of Social Service Candlelight Ball, along with years of service to the Tournament of Roses.
Asked what co-chairing the event means to her personally, she searched for an answer momentarily.
“Oh, my goodness,” she laughed. “I’m very honored, but it has been challenging. I’ve worked on a lot of events for different charities. And I have to say, this is the biggest, and it’s been the most challenging.”
But more importantly, Throop understands the important role of the iconic structure — what it means to the people of Pasadena.
“Between the Rose Bowl stadium and the Rose Parade,” she said, “Pasadena’s on the map. And I really think if you did away with either one of those, it would have an impact on Pasadena. If the Rose Parade ceased to exist, the Rose Bowl would cease to exist. People are thrilled from all over the country to come out for the Rose Parade or to come out for the game.”
More than an iconic structure, however, the Rose Bowl stadium means history and community to both Miller and Throop.
“This is something I want to share with you,” Miller offered, reflecting on the event, “especially because I live in the community. I never take it for granted when I’m on that field. Or that I get to go to a game.
“I look around that place,” she continued. “I look at those mountains and I just think, ‘Wow,’ but there’s a lot of people who have never been in that stadium or on that field because unless you are a football fan or a music fan, you may not have ever had that opportunity. And when we started telling people about this event and that it was on the field, the history and that tradition really resonated with people. I live nearby, and I walk to most events, and I never lose sight of how precious and important it is.”
More information about the Rose Bowl “Party of the Century” is available at www.partyofthecentury.org.