The Rowdies

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


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