Boston Duck Tours and our famous “Rolling Rallies”How Boson Duck Tours became the the Official ChampionSHIP of Boston!
Boston Duck Tours, over the years, has had the honor and pleasure of hosting 4 of the major Boston sports team on Rolling Rally Championship parades 9 different times, a feat that most cities have never seen.
The honor was bestowed upon us by the late and great Mayor Menino back in 2002 during our first victory parade with the New England Patriots. The city had not seen a victory parade since Boston Duck Tours inception in 1994. What happened to be a helpful solution to crowd control for our fanatical Boston sports fans, turned into a time honored tradition spanning over a decade and 2 Boston mayors. In 2002, we started the first Rollying Rally with the Patriots parade at the Hynes Convention Center and ended it at Boston City Hall with a celebration for all the players, owners and staff.
The DUCKs were a perfect fit as a victory parade vehicle as they were originally used as Army vehicles and had great back decks that the players could stand on and wave to the crowds below. It was close enough to get these players right up to their fans but far enough to keep them from being mobbed by the crowds.
After a 2nd Patriots parade and Rollying Rally in 2004, we debuted our first and only sports team themed DUCK “Red Sox Nathan”. Which, also just happened to be the year that the city’s favorite underdogs, the Boston Red Sox, broke their 86 year losing steak and brough home another championship! (Coincidence? we think not! ) They finally broke the “Curse of the Bambino” that started back in 1918 with the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. This parade was the longest parade we ever have done to this day. It was also the first parade we were able to do on both land and water as it took place in the Fall and during our season when the river was not frozen. We lined up 17 DUCKs inside Fenway Park, and that morning, launched the largest parade & celebration that the city of Boston has ever seen! The parade spanned the city of Boston and went up the Charles River, ending after the water portion of the parade was complete and everyone was brought back to Fenway Park. People came from all over the country and even the world to come and see this parade. They estimated the numbers of this parade to be about 3.2 million (give or take 100,000 or so). To give you an idea of how large this is for Boston, the average population of the entire city is about 650,000. Over a million people were estimated to have rode our subway system that day. And who headed the parade? “Red Sox Nathan” of course!
2004 was also the year the phrase “Cue the Duck Boats” became synonomous with a Boston sports team victory as much as “I’m going to Disney World” became synonomous with sports stars at the end of large victory wins. These parades were followed by yet another Patriots win in 2005, when they were finally considered a Dynasty and one of the most winningest teams in all of the NFL and another Red Sox win in 2007. Both followed previous parade routes from previous wins.
At the start of the 2007-2008 season, Doc Rivers, the head coach of the Boston Celtics brought some of his top players out on a private Boston Duck Tour and gave them a pep talk saying that, “At the end of this season we are going to be riding on these Duck Boats in a victory parade.” And you know what? He was right! The Boston Celtics brought home the 2008 Championship Trophy with the league’s best record for that season. This was the first time in 22 years they had won the NBA Championship. The last time they had won, Larry Bird was on the team! We started their Rollying Rally at the TD Garden and ended on Boylston Street by the Prudential Center.
A few years later, during their 2010-2011 season, the Boston Bruins had an all star line up including David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. They won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972, when Bobby Orr shot the winning goal (which has been emblemized in Bronze outside the TD Garden). Their Rollying Rally followed the same route as the Celtics parade, starting at the TD Garden, home of the Celtics and Bruins, and ending at the Prudential Center on Boylston Street.
In 2013, the Boston Red Sox brought home the World Series Trophy yet again, which was a much needed pick me up for a city that was rocked during the incidents that took place at the Boston Marathon that year. It could never take away what happened that April, but it soldified the fact that Boston Strong was indeed a perfect phrase for a city that is as resilient and proud as Boston is of its people, its teams and its history. The parade followed the same route as it did in 2004 and had a ceremonial stop at the finish line of the Boston Marathon to honor those that were affected by the incidents that took place that infamous day.
Finally, after one of the most hair raising and edge of your seat games in Superbowl history, the New England Patriots took home the Lombardy Trophy one more time in 2015. This was the first parade in which we had the honor of working with Mayor Marty Walsh. Even though we had record setting snow in the week leading up to the parade, and some snow banks taller than our vehicles, the Mayor pulled everything together in record time and declared that the city would have a parade whether mother nature was going to cooperate or not. It was by far the snowiest parade we ever participated in, but it was also the largest in regards to the amount of DUCKS. 25 were in the 2014 Patriots parade and it was certainly a parade to remember after a Superbowl game that the city would never forget!