Parade, pep rally pump up fans before win over West Virginia

By Bethany Knipp

Spectators sporting K-State purple and Halloween costumes lined the streets around City Park Friday evening for the K-State Homecoming parade.

The university’s sororities and fraternities made up the majority of the parade with decorative floats and chapter chants, proving their school spirit before the Wildcat football team took on the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday.

Supporting the greeks along the streets were their house mothers.

A group of about 14 house moms cheered on the hundreds of sons and daughters from their respective houses.

Jan Tidball, a mother to the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, said this is the second year she’s come out and sat in the same spot to support her daughters.

“I just love the enthusiasm the students put forth to get this together,” she said.

Tidball is a part of Mighty Moms, a social group for K-State house mothers.

“When you witness how hard they work to put it together, the least we can do is show up to support them when they walk or drive by,” she said.

Bobbie Lonker has been a house mother at Beta Theta Pi fraternity for 25 years.

She and some other Mighty Moms said they’re often included in the homecoming week activities if they wish to be.

“They asked me, ‘Would you like to drive in the truck with us?’ and I thought, ‘They need to just enjoy and not have to worry about me,’” Lonker said.

Lonker said this week while her fraternity was working on its float, she made hot cider and provided snacks for the brothers and the sorority members paired with them who came to the house to work on it.

After the K-State Marching Band paraded the streets around City Park playing “Wildcat Victory,” the rest of the homecoming ensemble followed dressed for both Halloween and school spirit.

Student organizations, sororities and fraternities made their way through the parade either by foot or on floats.

Many of the floats were Wizard of Oz themed, carrying Dorothy, the yellow brick road, Glinda and the Tin Man.

Once the fleet of floats and fire trucks were past, hundreds of students and K-State fans gathered around the Larry Norvell Band Shell in City Park for the pep rally.

The rally’s emcee was the voice of K-State Athletics, Wyatt Thompson. He announced parade contest winners as the marching band played “Wabash Cannonball” and the school fight song between speakers.

The rally’s highlight was Coach Bill Snyder’s speech to fans.

“I love you all from the bottom of my heart,” Snyder said from the band shell stage. He said that though the football team has gone through a difficult time this season, he’s proud of his team and the fans for not giving up.

“I’m proud of our youngsters because they haven’t given in. They’ve gotten better and they’ve gotten better,” he said.

The coach also read part of a fan letter he recently received from a 12-year-old girl who said going to football games is like going to a big family reunion. Snyder agreed with the girl’s sentiment.

“I’ve been able to adopt a second family, and that family is you,” he said.

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