The 30+ years of my telling this story may have "augmented" some of the facts, and I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but I'm betting most of you don't know where the tradition of the flaming bronco and homecoming queen's name started. Well, I'll tell you.
Early in the Fall, myself, and I think Jack Nall, Dennis Goodrum, Ronald McClung and the first chair French Horn player (I don't know why I can't remember his name) were all sitting around wanting to do something spectacular for half time at homecoming. As we brainstormed, it got to be close to 9:00 p.m. and we thought, "wouldn't it be great to have a big red bronco between the goal posts" but where and how would we get one. Then we thought, "how cool it would be if it were all lit up with sparklers or something". From there, we decided on the other goal post we would have the homecoming queen's name in huge letters.
While pondering where we were going to get a huge bronco, I remembered watching TV and seeing Rosco, a local artist, who could draw anything freehand. I looked up his phone number, gave him a call, and he said "I'd love to do it. Bring over some sheets of plywood and it will be no problem." So, we loaded up some sheets of plywood someone just happened to have at their house, took them over to Rosco, and at around 9:30 p.m., laid them out in his front yard. Within minutes, we had our bronco.
Now, how were we going to "sparkle" it up? We were thinking "road flares!", then realized it would cost a fortune, and how were we going to put out a couple of hundred 15 minute road flares after 5 minutes or so, and how in the world would you light them?
The next morning, I got with Mr. Dean to tell him our plan. I'm not sure I'd ever seen him so excited about an idea. He called a band director friend of his, I think it was in Crane, and then got off the phone and told me his friend had some left over flares from something they had done and would sell them to the OHS band, but someone would have to go get them. I volunteered and picked up several boxes of red and white 3 minute flares and about 500 feet of medium speed (15 feet per second) fuse rope.
Over the next few days, I was trying to figure out how to get the flares to light and the others were getting the horse in one piece and painting it. We decided to light up the bronco with red flares and the homecoming queen in white. The week of homecoming we meticulously "fused" each flare on the bronco and crossed our fingers. For the homecoming queen, it was much more difficult, because we didn't know who it was until about noon on Friday. Not only did we have to quickly make a frame of the name and put the flares on and fuse them, but hardest of all, we had to keep it a secret.
For those of you who were at homecoming that year, you know that our idea worked, and I'm proud to say, the tradition has continued.