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K-State Concludes Western Swing
From left to right: Wyatt Thompson, B.J. Finney, Lon Floyd, Dustin Yoder, Matt Giller, Mike Clark, Josh McCowan, Chelsea Lawrence, Jesse Johnson, Laton Dowling, Currie Sexton, D.J. Johnson, Kelly McHugh, Cody Whitehair, Kara guy, Chad Weiberg and Alex Kringen after the Heartland Catbacker Banquet in Hays, Kansas, on May 23, 2014
May 24, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
HAYS, Kan. - Yesterday concluded K-State Athletics' and the K-State Alumni Association's five-day tour through Western Kansas. Beginning with events in Dodge City with the Dodge City Catbacker Club and ending in Hays with the Heartland Catbacker Club, this year's "Western Swing" was a success.
After a busy Monday in Dodge City, the Catbacker Tour celebrated K-State in Garden City, Scott City and Colby before finishing yesterday in Hays.
From golf outings with some of the nation's most passionate purple fans to kids funzone where children from all over Western Kansas had the opportunity to meet and play with a few of their favorite K-State student-athletes, the K-State faculty and student-athletes involved in this year's Western Swing returned home with a greater appreciation for the fans out west.
But don't just take my word for it; eight student-athletes and a handful of K-State Athletics and Alumni Association staff also spent the week in Western Kansas. Here is what they have to say:
K-State senior associate athletics director of development Chad Weiberg:
"K-State fans in Western Kansas make the trip to Manhattan for games over and over all year. The road does go both ways, and this is our chance to come see them in their areas. We already know how passionate K-State fans are, but it's always a good reminder of the commitment they make to come to Manhattan to support the Cats. It's also our chance to personally thank them for their support of the Ahearn Fund and all they do for K-State Athletics."
President and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association Amy Button Renz:
"This past week on the Catbacker Tour has been so rewarding to experience the pride and enthusiasm members of our Wildcat family have for K-State. The Alumni Association staff is pleased to partner with K-State Athletics to coordinate the annual events that bring K-State personalities to our alumni and friends in Western Kansas. This is a unique partnership that works and just another example of how K-Staters come together to provide the very best programs for our incredible fans."
Voice of the Wildcats Wyatt Thompson:
"It's been a great week. Dodge City was a good start for us. We had about 270 in Garden City, which was certainly an uptick. Scott City was really, really good but it was different, to be honest, without Jerry (Doornbos) there, but we expected that because he'd been there 50 years and he kind of was the face of the Fry. Colby has become a really good event, their golf tournament is always packed and the evening event and auction was really good. Then of course Hays, I lived here for five years, so it's always great to come back here and be a part of this. When you put it all together, I think we've had a very successful week."
Women's basketball head coach Jeff Mittie:
"They've all been distinctly different, but they've all been a lot of fun. I enjoy getting out here. It's the least we can do for all the commitment that give to our athletic program. They travel so many miles, and it's so great to go to every corner of the state and see so much pride in Kansas State Athletics."
Men's basketball senior guard Will Spradling:
"It's been a blast. Obviously coming out and seeing all these people who have supported you through the years and seeing how grateful they were for me, it's nice to get that support and to know that they're still there for you even after you're done playing."
Football senior offensive linesman B.J. Finney:
"The reason I like to come out on the Catbacker Tour is because the people are great and you get a true sense of family and support from our fans. It's a great way to give back to them for them showing us support year round. I think my time is worth the support that they give."
Equestrian senior Jesse Johnson:
"It's definitely been better than I could have ever expected. The camaraderie around here among these people, we just fit right in, and I think it's been awesome how many people I've met. I've signed more autographs and shaken more people's hands than I could have ever even dreamed of. That part has really been incredible. Traveling with these people and being a part of this whole deal, it's hard to choose a favorite part."
Graduate assistant in fan experience and ticketing Chelsea Lawrence:
"Coming on this Catbacker Tour has been an amazing opportunity not only for the department, but also for myself. I've met so many friendly and loyal K-State fans and have had the chance to express my passion for K-State Athletics and encouraged them to attend games. We strives to provide the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12 and attending these tours helps our department engage with fans in their own environment. Being available for ticket sales, Junior Wildcats Club registrations and to answer any questions fans have will continue to help K-State Athletics build relationships with fans all across western Kansas."
During this past week I have had the opportunity to meet many, many faithful K-State Sports Extra readers. I wanted to say I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and thanks for following Sports Extra. I hope everyone has enjoyed this week's adventures on the Western Swing!
To check out photo albums from this week's events, click the following:
The Catbacker Tour still has plenty of stops around Kansas coming up this summer! For more information on the tour and to check out its schedule, click here.
To read more on this year's Western Swing, here are this past week's Sports Extras:
Monday, May 19 - Sports Extra Heads West
Tuesday, May 20 - Day One: Dodge City
Wednesday, May 21 - Kids Funzone Provides Fun for Wildcat Fans
Thursday, May 22 - Scott City Catbackers Remember Doornbos
Friday, May 22 - Johnson, Guy Represent K-State Equestrian on Western Swing