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Clayton Rankin’s Tournament of Roses Parade “An Honor”

World TEAM Sports Sea to Shining Sea rider Sgt. Clayton Rankin’s participation in the January 1 Tournament of Roses Parade was a moving and honorable experience, according to the Gulf War veteran.

“It was an Honor to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade this year as a guest on the Saving Americas Mustang float,” said the father of three. “I was amazed that, even in California, almost all of the audience stood and saluted and thanked us for our Military service as we passed.”

Brian Field, Clayton Rankin and Madeleine Pickens

Brian Field, Clayton Rankin and Madeleine Pickens prepare for the Tournament of Roses Parade, January 1, 2011. Photograph by Reel Ideas, courtesy Saving America's Mustangs.

Riding on the float sponsored by the not-for-profit Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation, Sgt. Rankin represented Patriot Paws, a Texas-based national organization that links veterans with trained service dogs. Accompanying Sgt. Rankin on the float was his dog, Harley.

A few days after the event, Sgt. Rankin reflected on his Rose Parade ride. “It was an incredibly humbling experience and once again I was reminded that the Americans I volunteered to serve and went to war for are still out there. They are the people I was willing to give my life and health to protect, and if given the opportunity I would gladly do again even knowing what the outcome would be for me personally. I love my country and thank America for allowing me the opportunity to serve.”

Stacie Daigle, spokesperson for Saving America’s Mustangs, was supportive of Sgt. Rankin and the other disabled military veterans who rode on their first year float, which received the Past President’s Trophy for The Most Innovative Use of Floral and Non-floral. “Saving America’s Mustangs was over the moon when it was announced that our float won [the award],” said Daigle. “We were also so honored to have so many great Americans joining our float. It was a very moving experience to see the active duty military and the veterans get standing ovations from the crowd of over 750,000! It was well-deserved recognition for defending our freedom.”

Now retired from the Army, Sgt. Rankin is planning additional outdoor activities with World TEAM Sports. He is participating in this April’s Face of America Ride, from Washington to Gettysburg, as a member of Team Mac. The team is riding in memory of Bruce McCarthy, a valued support member of the 2010 Sea to Shining Sea Ride who passed on December 15.