HUSKERMAX.COM KICKOFF CLASSIC This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the "HuskerMax.com Kickoff Classic" event will be held at Lake Zorinsky in Omaha (use the 156th & F entrance). Admission is free.
Husker Heisman winner Eric Crouch, Li'l Red, the Husker Cheer Squad, Anthony Steels' band and several other charitable organizations will be participating in the event.
That day I will be selling T-shirts, coins, caps etc. to help raise money for our "Husker Fans Salute The Troops" event scheduled for the weekend of October 20th at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. Stop by our booth and show your support for our troopers and veterans. With less than two months to go before this year's "Salute" celebration, we are still short of reaching our financial goal. If you know of anyone who can help us, please contact me (HuskerDan@cox.net) or visit our website, www.huskersalute.org. Thanks for your help. Remember, our men and women who have served our country don't ask for much. By donating to "Salute," you can show them how much you care.
A B-17 CORRECTION Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece about a friend of mine, Bob Watson, who was a tailgunner on a B-17 during WWII. After he'd flown his 27th mission (over 400 hours), his captain, Willard Curtis, told Bob that he had the option to return to the states to make way for others who needed flying time.
I wrote that his captain had to talk Bob into leaving. Bob assured me that wasn't quite how the conversation went.
"He (the captain) didn't have to do much talking," Bob said. "Getting home was something we hadn't dared think about for some time and I was pleased with the sudden possibility (of going home)." Bob left his crew in late December of 1944 and several days later on Christmas Eve, his plane ("Flak Hack") was shot down over Belgium. Sadly, several of the crew, including Captain Curtis, were killed in the crash.
40 AND COUNTING My very good friend John Kuti and his bride, Sharon, will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary when they attend the Southern Mississippi game at Memorial Stadium on September 1st. Congratulations, you two lovebirds!
10 AND COUNTING This year I began my tenth year writing this column for Huskerpedia/HuskerMax. If you want proof that it's been a long time, just count all the extra gray hair Joe Hudson and David Max have. Thanks for all of you who have written me through the years. You are the BEST!
BY THE BIG "O" This year, Omaha did itself proud by hosting an NCAA basketball regional at the CenturyLink in March. And in June, there was the College World Series at T.D. Ameritrade Park. And five days later, Mrs. Husker Dan and I attended the Olympic Swim Trials, also at the C-Link. All three events were world class. We were blown away by how professional and classy the swim trials were. Seeing such talented swimmers as Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin was awesome. Great job, Omaha!
CROUCH CLONE? On the May 10th issue of the Verdigre (NE) Eagle, there was an article about Eli Schreier, who will be a senior at Verdigre High School this fall. His resemblance to former Husker Heisman winner, Eric Crouch, is uncanny. And Eli plays football, too!
LABRONZE? I loved watching the Olympics, especially the swimming events, women's gymnastics, women's volleyball (it was too bad Jordan "The Hammer" Larson and the USA team lost in the championship game). Men's basketball was pretty awesome, too. LeBron James was magnificent down the stretch in helping the U.S. win the gold. Earlier in his career, James was a maligned NBA player, but that all changed when he got an NBA championship ring this summer and an Olympic gold medal in London. He's gone from LaBronze to LaGold. Sigh...
TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT? While going through a stack of CDs, I came across an album a friend of mine, Deb Carpenter and Lyn Messersmith recorded several years ago. Their original songs have to do with the state of Nebraska. The album is called "Leaders and Legends." I asked Deb if the B1G Conference had sought permission from her when they used those names for the two newly created conference divisions. She said no one had contacted her, explaining that the name was never trademarked. BTW, the songs are about the leaders and legends of the Old West. To order a copy, go to http://leadersandlegends.com/.
GERRY GRAY Gerry Gray, owner of Great Plains Marketing (www.greatplainsmktg.com), wants you to know about a couple of Husker radio shows he is producing this fall on 1620 The Zone here in Omaha. Beginning Monday night the 27th, "Husker Insider" will be broadcast live from Clancy's Pub at 71st and Pacific from 6:05-7:00. Co-hosts are Mike'l Severe and former Husker player Matt Vrzal.
And beginning next Thursday night, the "Huskerradio Hour Show" will air live from The Ice House Sports Bar at 110th and Emmet, also from 6:05-7:00. Former Husker standouts Joel Makovicka and Matt Hoskinson will be the co-hosts. If you can't catch these shows live, you can stream them at www.1620thezone.com.
FINAL TWO This summer, the Omaha World Herald ran a mock Husker highlight playoff in which readers voted for their favorite Husker moments. When it first came out, my top two without hesitation were the Huskers' amazing five year 60-3 record and the Game Of The Century (1971 NU-OU classic). My winner, in a landslide, was the GOTC. There hasn't been a Husker football game, or for that matter, an athletic contest in my lifetime that comes even close to excitement of this game.
The buildup to the Husker-Sooner game was unlike anything I've ever seen. It was like two powerful locomotives speeding toward each other on the same track. Even the Huskers' win over Alabama for the national championship paled in comparison.
RON HULL And speaking of the GOTC, long time NETV gem Ron Hull recently shared this story about Bob Devaney. Several months after "The Game Of The Century" aired live, NETV -- with ABC-TV's permission -- rebroadcast the game as part of the station's fund-raising efforts.
"We quickly raised $25,000," Hull recalled. "Shortly thereafter, I got a call from Bob Devaney. And he wasn't too happy. He insisted that all the money we raised from showing the game should go to the UNL football program. But after a while, Devaney gave up and we kept the money."
BTW, Ron's new book, "Backstage: Stories From My Life in Public Television," has just been published. The book is full of anecdotes about John Wayne, William Shatner, John Neihardt and Nebraska native Sandy Dennis. To order your copy of "Backstage," go to http://www.huskermax.com/huskerdan/Hull_Flyer.pdf