The Rowdy Section

From the Hub Letter Box by Bob Elliott KHS '69 Aurora, Colo

I thought readers might be interested to know that the Kearney Hub had a role in the creation of the Rowdy Section at Kearney High School.

     The 1968-69 basketball season was a disaster (0-17), I believe. The coach, early on, decided to emphasize a promising group of sophomores to build for the future.  This decision did not sit well with many of the boys in the Class of '69 and even several guys from the Class of '70.  In the coach's defense (he passed away a few years ago), these sophomores (Class of '71) were pretty good and went on to play in the state tournament.

     I followed the situation pretty closely because I was a sportswriter for the Echo.  If memory serves me, a couple of seniors either quit or were asked to quit.  Two more stayed on and played quite a bit  One other senior rode the bench.  This fellow ultimately was the inspiration for what followed.

     I always sat in the same section, next to the pep club, with my buddies.  They were mostly seniors and a few juniors.  As a group, we decided to take it upon ourselves to get our senior bench-rider on the court.  His name was Dave Jones.  i believe he still lives in Kearney.  Every time something bad happened on the court (which was often);  we stood as a group and screamed Jonesee!  Jonesee!  Jonesee!

     I don't know if this was a "Rudy" moment, but the initially puzzled crowd got into it and bedlam ensued.  The game was delayed a bit as embarrassed KHS administrators implored us to stop.

     The Kearney Hub report of this game included discussion of the game being delayed by a "rowdy bunch of boys."     Some of us knew a little bit about First Amendment Rights, but most of us were just plain ticked off.  The afternoon before the next game, several of us went down to George's Market and acquired about 20 feet of butcher paper.  We took the paper up to my house on 36th Street and proceeded to create a banner that said, "The Rowdy Section Cares."  We swore my mother to secrecy because my dad was on the school board and I didn't want him to have a chance to stop me.

   At the game we waited for just the right time to unfurl the banner.  As planned, 20 or so of us (including future KHS staffer Chris Richardson, who was in college) stood in unison and unfurled the banner.  The crowd went crazy and we got a standing ovation

     I must say that it was one of the coolest things that I have experienced in my entire life.  The next edition of the Hub published a photo of us holding our banner.

     The rest was history.  The "Rowdies"  were hatched.

This was taken from the website of the Class of '69 and is a corrected version of the Rowdy story!

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Editor's Note:

In September of 2007, the Hub printed a letter I submitted regarding the history of the Rowdy Section.  Thanks to Dave Jones, I realized that I got the story wrong.  Heck, it had been 39 years and it is no wonder that I clean up industrial contamination for a living instead of writing for Sports Illustrated.  In an effort to set the record straight, here is an "edited" version of the article that is hopefully closer to reality.  In the photo, Dave Jones is on the far left and I'm in the middle under the "S".  Everyone involved surely has their own story, but I still laugh at Tom Abood looking at Gil Rude in amazement as Gil appears oblivious to the whole thing.

Bob Elliot '69

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The 1968-69 basketball season was a disaster (0-17, I believe).  The coach, early on, decided to emphasize a promising group of juniors and sophomores to build for the future.  This decision did not sit well with many of the boys in the Class of  '69.  In the coach's defense (he passed away a few years ago), the youngsters were pretty good and went on to significant success on the court.

I followed the situation pretty closely because I was a sportswriter for the Echo.  If memory serves me, a bunch of guys (mostly seniors, a few juniors & sophomores, and even some KHS grads) sat together on game nights and raised hell about anything and everything that would distract attention from the sobering fact that the Bearcats were probably going to lose again.  It got so bad one night (I've long since forgotten why) that school officials actually stopped the game to reprimand us for being so "rowdy".

The Kearney Hub report of this game included discussion of the game being delayed by a "rowdy bunch of boys".

Some of us knew a little bit about First Amendment Rights, but most of us were just plain ticked off.  The afternoon before the next game, several of us went down to George's Market and acquired about 20 feet of butcher paper.  We took the paper up to my house on 36th Street and proceeded to create a banner that said "The Rowdy Section Cares".  We swore my mother to secrecy because my dad was on the school board and I didn't want him to have a chance to stop us.

At the game, we waited for just the right moment to unfurl the banner that I had smuggled in under my jacket.  As planned, we stood in unison and let our "freak flag fly".  The crowd, at first, was puzzled, but then they went crazy.

I must say that this was one of the coolest things that I have experienced in my entire life.  The next edition of the Hub published a photo of us holding our banner.  The rest is history.  The "Rowdies" were hatched.

Bob Elliott '69

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During the 1970 basketball season, the Rowdy section continued much to the dismay of the administration and some of the teachers.  Below is our contribution to the continuing saga of the Rowdy Section!

Reprint of a Rowdy Section note from January 1970 written by Gig Tollefsen and Dave Carpenter

A NOTE FROM THE ROWDY SECTION

On Friday night, January 16, 1970 at the Kearney High vs. Scottsbluff basketball game the Kearney Senior High faculty demonstrated their keen abilities for acting in an emergency.

What was this emergency which caused these brave men to move in so ruthlessly?  It seems the self-organized male cheering section of the Kearney High student body known as the ROWDY SECTION had posted an obscene sign that said of all things “THE ROWDY SECTION” also some young men had procured megaphones, and finally to top it all off there were some signs in the section as yet unrevealed to the audience.

Showing a skill and zeal that would have become Stalin this self-appointed secret police quickly moved in and 1) tore down the sign 2) collected the megaphones and 3) retrieved all the placards.

Never did it occur to these fine men that the signs were not to be shown to the audience, but were cue cards to organize the rowdy section’s cheers.  The faculty quickly pointed out that there might be a Big Ten rule against signs displayed in the gym.  How is it then that they had never before acted upon the numerous signs posted by visiting and home booster clubs?  Finally if megaphones were also illegal why were they allowed in the Scottsbluff section?

Recently the Kearney High basketball team has been shown the most spirit and audience support since the founding of Kearney High—even with seasons like 0-19.  Why so much spirit? Simple-the KEARNEY HIGH ROWDY SECTION.  But if the quick thinking Kearney High faculty again abuses the Rowdy Section we can promise they will have no more trouble.  Mainly because there will be no more Rowdy Section and the game will return to the old fashioned, where the only audience is the boosters and a few parents who can but only quietly watch Kearney lose again, and again, and again.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION

signed,

THE KEARNEY SENIOR HIGH ROWDY SECTION

P.S. GO KEARNEY