By Randy Stevens
It was billed as a fundraiser for the Texas State football and baseball programs, but it seemed more like a Bobcat family reunion.
The brainchild of Texas State head baseball coach Ty Harrington and Bobcat head football coach David Bailiff, the Bobcat Summer Bash turned out to be one of the most enjoyable fundraisers I have ever attended during my nine years of covering the university's athletic department.
The event was held at the Texas Disposal Systems' Exotic Game Ranch and Pavilion, located in Creedmore. And even though the facility is located behind a large landfill, believe me, this place was no dump. The large indoor pavilion felt more like a top-notched Colorado resort lodge, and seeing all the wild game that was on the 3/4-mile drive to the pavilion almost made you feel like you were in Africa rather than south-central Texas.
Guests were entertained with live country music from Dub Miller, while there were a number of outdoor activities as well. The Ping-Pong table was the site of numerous one-on-one competitions, while the horseshoe and washer pits also provided the guests with some fun and relaxation.
The ranch also had a short, par-three golf hole, which was a perfect setting for a closest-to-the-pin contest which attracted a small gallery for each participant who paid $5 for a shot at a cash prize. Believe me, it's not easy playing golf in front of any crowd, and even though my ball didn't land very close to the hole, I was satisfied that I didn't embarrass myself with a shanked shot. By the way, Chris Jones, the student body vice president at Texas State, won the competition with a shot that landed about 18 inches from the pin.
Guests were also allowed to tour the two ranch houses located next to the pavilion. They were immaculate. The two, two-story log homes had the distinct feel of Texas, complete with western-style furnishings and plenty of deck space that overlooked the ranch and provided tremendous views of the Texas sunset on the horizon.
The ranch also had a skeet-shooting facility, but since a number of Bobcats were consuming the free adult beverages inside, I suppose the owners of the ranch felt like it was in their best interest not to let the guests give skeet shooting a try.
Inside, guests browsed items at a silent auction, that included everything from an old 'SWT' football to blue jeans that were worn and signed by country music superstar and Texas State graduate George Strait. By the way, George's waist is a size 32 for those of you who may be wondering.
I tried to make a bid on an official and autographed San Diego Padres jersey from Scott Linebrink, but got outbidded each time. I would have gone higher, but I didn't feel like asking for a pay raise from my boss to pay for it.
There was also a live auction that included several great items, but none more impressive than a 1996 Olympic Games torch that was used in Salt Lake City. Ken Jenkines, co-owner of the River Road Ice House, made the winning bid, which was over $2,000.
While the adults were mingling, the kids and some of their parents were treated to a bus tour of the ranch to see all of the exotic game, which included buffalo, gazelles, longhorns and all sorts of exotic deer.
The guests enjoyed an all-you-can-eat fried catfish dinner prepared by the famous Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department. If you have never tasted the fried delicacies prepared by this group, then you haven't tasted 'real' fried catfish before.
But the thing I enjoyed the most was meeting and greeting members of the Bobcat family. Of course, regulars like Sac-N-Pac's Garland Warren (who looked sharp in an old Bobcat football jersey), Mike and Greg Davis of 3D Welding Supply, and Dr. Lewis Gilcrease and his wife Linda, and Albert Gonzalez were present, but what was refreshing to see was a number of former Bobcat athletes I had the pleasure of covering in the past.
Darrick Vaughn, who currently plays in the NFL for the Houston Texans was there, along with former Bobcat quarterbacks David Williams, Jason Griffin and his wife, the former Shauna Stahl - a former Bobcat volleyball standout, and former quarterback Cody McCauley.
C.J. Carroll, the former Division I-AA defensive player of the year and one of my all-time favorite Bobcats to watch play football was there, as was former running back Lee Lundin, former wide-out Beau Robertson and former punter Rick Barrow. There were also some older well-known Bobcats that were in attendance such as quarterback Ron Jacoby and lineman Jeff Novak, both of whom enjoyed professional careers in the NFL.
Only one 'bad' thing happened at the event. As Dr. Denise Smart was driving to the pavilion, a buffalo obviuosly didn't care for the make of car she was driving, as it pawed its hoof on the ground and charged her vehicle. Fortunately, Smart was able to make it to the event unscathed. I'm not sure the same can be said about her car.
In all, more than 400 people were in attendance at the event.
"When I woke up Friday morning, I felt like I had just won a big football game," said Bailiff. "That was the most fun i have ever had at a fundraising event."
The next day, a total of 33 teams converged at Quail Creek County Club for a four-man scramble golf tournament.
Although Harrington and Bailiff weren't sure how much money the event raised for their respective programs, it was certainly a success.
"I really appreciate everyone that came out here tonight and especially those who donated their time and money to help make this a great night," Bailiff told the crowd. "Like I've said before, it may be called Texas State University, but we couldn't do it without the members of the community, or what I like to call Texas State 'Communiversity.'"
All I know is I can't wait until next year's Bobcat Bash.