Doug Austen Globe Special
Welcome to the first of many articles that will focus on items found in the Ford County Legacy Center collections. The job of the Ford County Historical Society is to preserve and interpret the history of Ford County with exhibits at the Mueller-Schmidt House (Home of Stone) and the Ford County Legacy Center. We continually receive historical artifacts and documents and hope people will remember us before selling or ransacking items related to Ford County history.
Fifty-five years ago, the Bucklin High School Band participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 1967 in Pasadena, California. The invitation came in early 1966 to the manager, Loren Cooper. Mr. Cooper kept two scrapbooks of letters, newspaper clippings and other documents related to preparing for and participating in the parade. These albums are now part of the Legacy Center collections.
The county had already seen the Dodge City High School Band perform in the 1961 version of the parade, so the communities of Dodge City and Bucklin knew what it would take. Fundraising started in earnest and included band members raising $100 each. In May, the fundraiser included band members (in uniform) helping businesses in Dodge City (it even included Gambles at 310 Gunsmoke — the current headquarters of the Ford County Legacy Center).
The group participated in the Dodge City Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 3. The group from Dodge City led the parade which included huge air-filled balloons, followed by the group from Bucklin High School bound for Rose Parade. The group received praise from Kansas Governor William Avery, as well as Senator James Pearson and then-Rep. Bob Dole.
On December 8, the band performed an appreciation concert at Bucklin High School Auditorium and included tunes to play for the parade (including “I’m a Jayhawk”).
The trip’s itinerary included a train departure from Dodge City on December 28 with an arrival in Los Angeles on December 29. They were then transferred by bus to Santa Monica, which was their base of operations in California. In addition to parade rehearsals, the group visited Marineland and Disneyland, dined at the Tiki-Jo restaurant, and attended “The Dating Game” television show.
They also visited Universal Studios and gave a concert at Santa Monica Hall. After taking part in the parade, they attended the Rose Bowl football game, then had dinner at Fred Harvey’s restaurant in Los Angeles before taking the train home.
Another Kansas connection was highlighted in the Kansas State Department of Economic Development’s KANSAS quarterly publication. The uniforms worn by the band were made in Kansas at the Fruhauf Southwest Uniform Co. (which still exists in Wichita). One of these Bucklin uniforms is in the collections of the Legacy Center.
Many thanks to Loren Cooper, who was the band manager, for leading the Bucklin High School Band at the Rose Parade (and caring for the albums) and to Kathy Feikert (group alum) for donating the albums and other artifacts in Ford County. Heritage Center.
A home movie reel of trip highlights is also part of our collections and has been digitized and will be available for purchase through the Bucklin High School All School Reunion later this year.