Columnist enjoys eventful road trip to Missouri with group of SDSU supporters

Nick Hartley

Nick Hartley

Road trips are fun, and on Feb. 16 and 17, my friend Jordan, Amy, my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of road-tripping with the Back of the Bus Gang to the doubleheader against UMKC. Being a roadtrip veteran, I knew what to expect, as I have been to eight different states already.

The Back of the Bus Gang has followed SDSU to away games for 15 years and is made up of various SDSU supporters and alumni. Dave and Shar Quam organize the trips for the fans. Trip price includes bus fare, hotel room, game tickets and solid driver’s trip. Most of the time, the trips include alumni gatherings and some form of entertainment after the game.

After leaving Brookings, the fun was just beginning. Sitting in the back of the bus, I heard stories about the past from longtime Jackrabbit fans. Stories about games in the Barn, games on the road, national title games with vivid descriptions as if they just took place in the last year or two and stories that made me proud to be a Jackrabbit. As the trip progressed, we passed by locations of former North Central Conference teams that fell into the black abyss of nothingness. We sang a song about the old abandoned outhouse called The U; we drank, played cards and had a great time.

Once in St. Joseph, Mo., where we were staying, we had 30 minutes to get ready for the game. That meant getting as much face painting done as possible before getting on the bus. Everyone managed to get their coat of blue paint on before leaving. A few racy quotes from the girls later and everyone was ready for the pre-game alumni gathering just across the street from Kemper.

We met a few alums, had some food, drank some more and sang some songs. After accomplishing the top score in six of the Penthouse games on the bar’s video game system that had 20 credits in, we walked over to Kemper for the game. Great seats three rows behind the bench provided us with a great view of the game and opportunities to check out Kemper, which has a private bar. After watching the game and making fun of their morbidly obese kangaroo and their whole student section of five students, we trudged back outside in the rain to the bus and back to St. Joe’s.

After getting cleaned up, we decided it was too early for us to go back to our room and traveled across town to Terrible’s Casino, where we proceeded to spend the next two hours playing games and trying to make money. After playing wise with my money, I decided to quit early and finish up $6. We decided at about 2 a.m. that it was late and called for a taxi back to the Drury Inn – which I recommend staying at – and hit the hay in their nice comfortable beds.

Waking up at 7 a.m., we found an amazing breakfast buffet that only a football lineman could think of. I loaded up on some goodies before heading back to the room to finish packing. After driving through a snowstorm for an hour and a few stops in Iowa and Sioux Falls, we were back in Brookings.

All in all, it was a great trip to Missouri, full of fun memories and some great stories. Thanks to the Back of the Bus Gang for a great time.