Floyd's Last Fling

It's a week where Floyd, a native of Kinsley, Kansas, has the opportunity to spend time with his own. As the Assistant Athletics Director of Development Events, Floyd has spent the past two decades working on the Catbacker Tour and has made countless relationships along the way.
However, this year - his final on the tour before retiring from K-State in just nine short days - has added meaning. 
"I've been at K-State for 20 years, and I make about five trips a year out here, so that's 100 trips to the Garden City and Scott City area," said Floyd on Wednesday night as he addressed the Scott City Catbackers for one final time before retiring. "I can tell you that every trip I've come out here, I've been met with open arms, respect and a great deal of kindness. Because of that, I've made lifelong friends." 
Floyd has been a key component in making the Catbacker Tour one of a kind. From Dodge City to Garden City to Scott City to Colby to Hays, he helps make sure each every event is running smoothly during the Western Swing, then he continues working hard through the summer with each of K-State's 23 other Catbacker events throughout the state.
"His hand writing, his personality and his thoughtfulness is all over this tour," said Mike Clark, former Wildcat baseball coach and K-State Athletics' Senior Director of Development. "Every place we go, everybody has a relationship with Lon Floyd. He's taken something that's started years and years ago, organized it and made it into the grassroots success that it is today. Every stop has its own story, and through the ups downs, no matter what, Lon's made it work."
Added the Voice of the Wildcats, Wyatt Thompson, about his friend, "The thing about Lon is, he's been around long enough and he knows everybody, but he relates to these people (out west) more so because these guys are his type of people. They're blue-collar, hard-working guys who are really, really passionate about K-State Athletics, and to me, that's what Lon's all about."
Thompson is 100 percent correct. Watch Floyd at any of the Catbacker events and you'll instantly notice his passion. Sporting blue jeans, cowboy boots and a sharp, pressed purple shirt with, of course, a Powercat embroidered on his pocket, he laughs, chats and reminisces about the Catbacker events of years past with his friends and fellow K-Staters. 
Floyd has made himself familiar in Western Kanas. He knows and loves the people, and the people love and know him as well.
"One of the things for us that is so nice about Lon is that he's one of us," said John Fairleigh, a friend of Floyd's from Scott City, Kansas. "He's a cattle guy. He identifies really well with this crowd out here. He always helps out; he's always here. He's always excited about K-State, and the one thing about him is the energy he brings to every event. He's brought that energy for a lot of years. He will be greatly missed."
The Scott City "Fry" is one of Floyd's favorite stops on the tour, and rightly so. It takes place in a feedlot completely surrounded by cattle. Since the event is not in a traditional banquet hall or event center, the planning and preparation takes some time. The fryers, the food, the tables and the chairs are hauled in the morning of the Fry, and Floyd helps with all of it. 
The Scott City crew uses 70 gallons of oil to fry its 100 pounds of rocky mountain oysters to serve to its nearly 500 guests. It's a lot of work, but every year these K-Staters make it happen. 
"Until you get involved in something like this, you don't realize how much work goes in to putting this on. You don't realize that just a week ago, this place didn't look like it does right now," said Floyd. "It's a tremendous operation to get everything that's here out here, but this event's committee is just fantastic."
Every year on the Catbacker Tour, K-State Athletics and the K-State Alumni Association travel nearly 8,000 total miles from May to July to towns and cities state-wide and generate about $200,000-plus for the Ahearn Fund through the Catbacker clubs' events, raffles and auctions. 
And over the past 20 years, the tour's success can be credited much to Floyd's dedication and passion for K-Staters. 
"In my 20 years, my 100 trips from Manhattan out here, I cherish every one of them and every one of them has meant something to me," said a misty-eyed, emotional Floyd as he closed his speech. "My years with K-State have been more than I can ever explain, and I'm very proud to have been here for 20 years."
With that, the Scott City crowed erupted into applause and gave Floyd a standing ovation. 
"That is a good, good cowboy, right there," said Thompson about Floyd as the applause wound down and the evening's program continued. 
A good, good cowboy, indeed. 

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