The Woodward News

Sports

May 26, 2013

Classic Bowl turns 25

Woodward, Okla. — You can probably come up with any number of reasons the Classic Bowl has reached age 25.

Community support, a unique location in Woodward, which is basically the center of the 91 schools that make up the Classic Bowl family and the fact that a lot of people are willing to help make the event special.

But, the main reason is pretty simple. It's the participants.

"The Classic Bowl has survived, gotten better and grown because of the outstanding kids in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas," said C. J. Montgomery, the Woodward Chamber of Commerce president and a Classic Bowl director. "We have great kids out here."

Some 500 to 600 of those kids will be in Woodward at some point this week to put on a show for family, friends and fans.

From basketball to football to band and cheerleading, the goal is to do everything first-rate.

"This works because Woodward is very special and unique," Montgomery said. "There are very few communities that could pull such a mega event off."

Classic Bowl XXV week kicks off on Tuesday and runs through Saturday.

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Over the years some fairly well-known Oklahomans have been a part of the Classic Bowl in one fashion or another.

That will continue this year with former Oklahoma State University basketball player and current CBS Radio sports announcer Doug Gottlieb coming to speak at the annual awards banquet.

Also in town will be Dave Hunziker, the voice of the OSU Cowboys, who will handle the play by play of the football game.

And those past notables?

How about:

• the late Bob Barry Sr. was the game announcer for a number of years and hopes are to honor him this year and have his son Bob Barry Jr., the sports director at Channel 4 on hand for that recognition.

• Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens was a big early supporter of the Classic Bowl and his son Mike played in the game.

• Gene Thrailkill, the famed director of bands at the University of Oklahoma, led the Classic Bowl honor band on numerous occasions.

• The late Jack Mildren, a former OU and NFL player and Lt. Gov., visited and played a key role in the Classic Bowl's growth.

• Oklahoma's current Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, an Enid native, both played and officiated in the Classic Bowl.

• State Rep. Jeff Hickman typically handles the stadium announcing duties and occasionally the basketball games as well, if the legislature adjourns a little early.

• Former Dallas Cowboy Lynn Scott of Turpin is an alum of the Classic Bowl.

• That also holds true for Nathan Leeper of Protection, Kan., who represented the United States in the 2000 Olympics in the high jump.

That short list doesn't include the dozens of Classic Bowl participants who played on the collegiate level, furthering their athletic endeavors and education at the same time.

Who will be the next famous Classic Bowl participant? Check back in a few years.

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In addition to honoring athletic ability, the Classic Bowl also focuses on academic achievements and will give $5,000 in scholarships over the week - one in girls basketball, one in boys basketball, one in football, one in band and one in cheerleading. Over the years, the Classic Bowl has provided over $100,000 in scholarships, Montgomery said.

Along with the scholarships, the Classic Bowl is unique in yet another way.

It was never designed as a regular type of all-star game where you pick only the most-well known players, or those from just the largest or most successful schools.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Classic Bowl is a simple one - every school that nominates an athlete will be represented.

In football, especially, it makes for a collection of talented young men who have played different versions of the game.

You have the regular 11-man game, plus guys from the 8-man game, which is extremely popular in western Oklahoma, and players from the Texas Panhandle who take part in the wide, wide-open world of 6-man football.

It's a bit of an adjustment for coaches and players alike.

In basketball, the type of game isn't any different, but there is a wide range of schools. Felt, one of the very smallest schools in Oklahoma, is often represented as is Enid, one of the top 20 schools in size in the state.

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This year's Classic Bowl follows a familiar schedule.

On Tuesday the focus is on the arrival of the football and girls basketball players with the basketball games at Boomer Stadium that night.

Wednesday offers a couple of highlights as well with the Fellowship or Christian Athletes holding an event at the fairgrounds - usually with a current or former college football player on hand - and the band students arrive.

When the calendar turns to Thursday, boys basketball takes center stage with 2 games  at Boomer Fieldhouse.

Friday is reserved for honoring students at an awards banquet, and for a fun night at the 101 Centre where all the Classic Bowl participants gather to dance and have a good time.

And Saturday, well the day starts with a cheerleading competition at Boomer Fieldhouse.

An added event this year is a coaches clinic at Northwestern-Woodward for area coachers. Among the featured seekers are University of Central Oklahoma head coach Nick Bobeck, himself a former Classic Bowl player, and Rian Rhode, the head coach at Hutchinson, Kan. Community College.

In the afternoon, there is the annual Classic Bowl parade downtown then in the evening, the pre-game and finally game time for the Silver Anniversary edition of a premiere event in Oklahoma.

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