Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Remembering KCSR - 1450 on the Dial!

The holidays have a way of allowing us to make contact with kindred souls we’ve not seen or visited with for many years.

In the past week, I’ve exchanged e-mails with Frank Clark, a former Chadronite now long-retired and living in Virginia. Frank and I met up at his home a few years ago to reminisce a bit about KCSR Radio and mutual friends who worked there in the early days, when the station was still at “1450 on the radio dial.”

It occurred to me it would be fun to try to pull together a few old photographs from those years. That’s a sample up above – Cliff Pike and Bob Fouse frolicking around on Breakfast with the Boys, which aired in the mid-1950s, shortly after the station went on the air.

In coming weeks, I’ll be posting the few photos I have in a KCSR Gallery and encouraging others to join the fray! If you have some you’re willing to share, please drop me an e-mail.

KCSR trivia question #1: Bill Finch and Bob Fouse put KCSR on the air in May 1954. They already had a few years of broadcasting experience under their belts when they arrived in Chadron. Where had they been?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Finding Consolation

It was a sad ending to a terrific season for the Chadron (Nebr) State College football team Saturday (Dec. 1) as Northwest Missouri University handily rebuked the Eagles 26-13 in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals in Chadron.

Gone was the stellar last-quarter comeback of a week earlier, when the Eagles defeated Abilene Christian 76-73 after trailing by 29 points at the end of the third period.

The post-game congregation this week was a solemn one at Elliott Field. In the photo above, two Eagle players console one another, while family and fans looked on.

There is little doubt that the Maryville, Missouri powerhouse deserved the win. Their play and statistics were impressive as they continued their march to the Division II playoffs later this month in Alabama. Nebraska native Xavier Oman of Beatrice set a Bearcat school record for rushing in a single game, collecting some 306 yard for the day. Chadron State College ended another great season with a record of 12-1. After the game, a CSC fan (left) hugs quarterback Joe McLain on the 50-yard line.
”I’m overjoyed with what we accomplished this year,” Coach Bill O’Boyle said. “We’ve had 12 wins and we came back from a lot of adversity. The guys did a great job staying together and they played as a team. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Tribute to Slim

By Larry Miller

He was a hero, and we didn’t know it. And I doubt he ever considered himself a hero – but isn’t humility a common trait among the truly heroic?

I didn’t know him well, but Warren Beamish and his wife Gladys were good friends with our family.

He loved horses and would perform with his horses and as a rodeo clown in communities around western Nebraska and the surrounding region. Warren grew up in Michigan during the Depression years of the ‘30s. It was there that he became acquainted with my uncle Alex Miller and decided to accompany Alex back to Chadron, Nebraska. He was a “hired hand” for my grandfather Bill Maiden, among other jobs he had over the years. In 1942, Warren married Gladys Warren.

In World War II, like so many other young men, he went into the Army and was shipped overseas. It was in July 1943, when – as part of the American invasion of Sicily – that “Sergeant” Beamish and one other soldier helped open up enemy beaches for an Allied assault.

Official Army records indicate that “…on 10 July 1943…a few minutes after landing…Staff Sergeant Beamish, then a Sergeant and squad leader, volunteered to accompany an army officer and, under fire from enemy guns, succeeded in moving inland, assaulting a gun position and pill box which was being manned by six Italian soldiers.”

After opening up a landing site, they then proceeded up the beach, capturing another 25 Italian soldiers manning 20 millimeter and 50 caliber guns. Their actions opened the beach for 500 yards, allowing a successful assault – the largest such amphibious assault of its kind up to that time of the war.

For his “extraordinary heroism” during this major Allied invasion, Staff Sergeant Warren W. Beamish was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the highest combat medal awarded by the United States military – second only to the Medal of Honor. Read the text of the award.

Who knew? Like so many of his era, Warren came home from the war and – according to his wife Gladys – never talked about his war-time exploits. He merely got on with his life in Chadron, Nebraska. He and Gladys raised two children, Bill and Bonnie.

Warren "Slim" Beamish died on July 21, 1998. He was 80 years old. We've compiled a few photos to help tell this story.

It was Warren Beamish and others like him who won that war. Winning for us a way of life that most of the rest of the world can only dream of enjoying. It is right that we should honor him and others who've fought for our country.

Thanks, Slim. Belatedly, but with much admiration.

The Eagles Had Heart!

The song "Heart" from the Broadway show “Damn Yankees” back in the mid-1950s became a hit recording for both Eddie Fisher and the McGuire Sisters. 

But its lyrics could well have been penned for the Chadron State Eagles football team in their stellar comeback last weekend (Nov. 24th) against Abilene Christian.

You’ve gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin'
You’ll never win
That’s when the grin should start

The Eagles simply wouldn't accept defeat. Despite trailing the Abilene Christian "Wildcats" by 29 points in the third period, the CSC "Eagles" displayed great stamina -- and even greater heart -- by chipping away slowly at that margin as the minutes and seconds raced off the clock in the fourth quarter. It was a second round NCAA Division II playoff for the southwest region, played in Chadron (Nebr.) on a soggy Elliott Field.

You've gotta have hope
Mustn't sit around and mope

The heart displayed by the Eagles shone no brighter than from the CSC sideline, as star running back Danny Woodhead climbed atop a bench, as he often has done this year, to rally the crowd behind the Eagle defense. The sheer tenacity of offense and defense alike allowed the Eagles to narrow the gap -- albeit at a pace that was agonizingly slow. The clock was not their friend. But finally, at the end of regulation play, Chadron State had managed, almost unbelievably, to tie Abilene Christian, 56-56. A joyous moment for Eagles fans, and a moment of consternation for the many fans who'd left the game at the end of the third period.
When your luck is battin' zero
Get your chin up off the floor
Mister you can be a hero
You can open any door...
There's nothin' to it but to DO it!
And then there were THREE overtime periods. In the end, it was a series of enormous team efforts that gave Chadron a 76-73 win over Abilene. 

The high score and great drama caught the attention of the New York Times, which has enjoyed giving its lofty, if not somewhat condescending, coverage of "tiny Chadron State." It reminds me of the perpetual toungue-in-cheek coverage of Slippery Rock (PA) football scores over several decades.  Read what the Times had to say about the Chadron State-Abilene Christian game.

Our appetites, and those of thousands of other Eagles fans, are whetted for the next chapter in this wonderful unfolding of Chadron State College athletic history. That will occur next Saturday, December 1, when the Northwest Missouri University team invades Chadron for another round of Division II playoffs. Stay tuned!
Hats off to the Eagles -- they had heart!