A favorite pastime for KU Alumni Association staff members is the annual Kansas Wheat Festival held in Wellington. We’ve participated in the cow chip tossing contest for a decade thanks to the generous support of John T., b’58, and Linda Stewart, ’60, and alumni hosts David Carr, c’73, and Colette Kocour, c’73.
Two teams tossed patties this year, and the Rock Chalk Ringers, led by Emily Ellison, Danielle Hoover and Colette Kocour, finished in second place. The other team, the Rock Chalk Chuckers, headed up by Tyler Rockers, finished dead last.
According to Heath Peterson, vice president for alumni programs, Tyler convinced the team to go for the toilet rather than the points on the grid, which was a bad idea. “Tyler whiffed out of the gate, which set the tone for everyone else. If they awarded points for both style and bad strategy, we would have won hands down,” Heath said. David Carr and Don Short were also on the team.
After the contest, the teams celebrated their success (and failure) over dinner with several local Presidents Club members.
The group was back in action on Friday night, pulling the Rock Chalk trailer down Washington Street in the Wheat Festival Parade. Baby Jay worked the crowd like a star, and the staff and volunteers tossed T-shirts to the crowd. Many thanks to the Stewarts for once again purchasing the T-shirts.
“This was my first Wheat Festival, and I had a great time!” said Danielle Hoover, assistant director of Wichita programs. “Everyone was friendly and excited that we were there with KU gear during the parade.”
We’ve developed many KU friendships over the years in Wellington, which is a top notch small Kansas town. Each year, the Kansas Wheat Festival is a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the community for two days and spread Jayhawk spirit.
Zambia and Botswana are not the most accessible places in the world, but that didn’t deter a group of Jayhawks who were determined to experience a true African safari. Some of the travelers in our group boarded as many as thirteen flights to complete this journey, but not a single complaint was heard.
With the help of our tour guide, Robyn, we immersed ourselves in the African culture and wildlife. As we learned the tales of African explorer David Livingstone (and the origin of the iconic phrase “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”) and picking up our “bush babies” before bed, we experienced all the mystique and romance that southern African has to offer.
While some may think of going to Africa as “roughing it,” the outstanding hospitality of the native people makes it anything but that. In addition to enjoying delicious lunches out in the bush, we were also entertained by traditional songs and dances before our evening meals. I can’t forget to mention that in true Jayhawk fashion, we always found time to stop for “sundowners” before heading back to our lodges or camps.
For anyone who has ever dreamed of taking a trip to Africa, I would say only one thing: GO! The wildlife, scenery, hospitality and the culture are truly the experiences of a lifetime—something that I will not soon forget.
—Tyler Rockers, coordinator of alumni programs, hosted the Flying Jayhawks Botswana Safari from June 24-July 7, 2015. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2016 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.
Around 35 people gathered to hear about the distillery process, from cooking the grains to fermenting the mash to bottling the spirits, during a tour of the distillery. The group was also invited to try the various spirits—the favorite was “Grandma’s Apple Pie Moonshine”!
After the tour, the group met in the adjoining social area to enjoy fabulous barbecue from Captain Cook’s KC BBQ food truck and to hear updates and news about KU from Mike Davis, senior vice president for donor relations, and Tyler Rockers, coordinator of chapters. It wasn’t exactly an escape from the summer heat but it was a great opportunity to get together!
—Dee Clifford, Las Vegas Chapter leader
Thanks to Dee for providing a few pictures from the event. Watch the slideshow below, or click here to see the photos on Flickr.
This event is part of the ‘Hawk Days of Summer, the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.
Once again this year, we’re dispatching staff members to key cities across the United States to host watch parties for local Jayhawks.
Today, our fearless travelers are stationed in Denver, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Each location will have a KU Alumni Association table set up with free giveaways such as stickers and coasters. If you’re a member, though, be sure to show your card to receive a special gift! You can show your actual card, a digital copy of the card (it’s on some of our emails) or even a copy of a recent email that has your membership status at the bottom.
We’re already hearing reports from Teri Harris, director of membership, that Stoney’s Bar & Grill, our official alumni watch site in Denver, is packed with Jayhawk fans. The restaurant even put together a special Jayhawk menu with offerings that include “Naismith Nachos” and “Phog Allen Fries.”
And from Lottie’s Pub in Chicago, Tyler Rockers, coordinator of alumni programs, proclaimed that the sky is appropriately colored KU blue today.
Should KU win today over Eastern Kentucky and advance to Sunday’s game, staff members will host watch parties in Phoenix, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, Portland and New York City.
This year’s Roadshow features events in Manhattan, Salina, Hutchinson, Garden City and Hays where prospective Jayhawks and their families can meet KU representatives and learn about all things Jayhawk while enjoying free food and giveaways.
The first event of 2013 was held last night in Manhattan at the public library. Tyler Rockers, coordinator of chapters for the KU Alumni Association, was in attendance along with volunteers from the Flint Hills Chapter. “It was a great event and an excellent chance for KU to showcase all it has to offer to students who may not otherwise get much exposure to KU,” he said.
Alumni are invited to attend the Rock Chalk Roadshow to share their KU experience with prospective students. Here’s a list of the remaining events:
Monday, Aug. 26, 6-7:30 p.m.
Salina Bicentennial Center
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 6-7:30 p.m.
Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
Garden City, KS
Thursday, Aug. 29, 6-7:30 p.m.
The Fox Pavilion
Being a Jayhawk is a lifetime commitment. We hope you’ll consider attending an event near you to help share your school spirit with a new generation of Jayhawks! Click here to register for the Rock Chalk Roadshow.
Help us identify future Jayhawks by sharing the names of prospective KU students who are in the sixth grade or older. After you complete the Legacy Recruitment Program form, your future ‘Hawk will become part of the Office of Admissions mailing list and will receive information about KU. Contact Joy Maxwell, Director of Legacy Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Jayhawks of all ages came out to support the event and donate life-saving blood. Overall, thirty six donors contributed a total of twenty five pints of blood for the Community Blood Center.
Event staffers commended the KU community for their outstanding support of the event. “While we are surprised that none of the donors actually have blue blood, we always look forward to visiting the KU campus” commented one technician.
The event was originally slated to be held in front of the Adams Alumni Center in the Community Blood Center’s mobile van. Unfortunately, the van broke down, and the only available room in the building was the Seymour Pub.
While the idea of a “pint for a pint” may have enticed some donors, the pub was not open for pints of the tall, frosty kind.
If you are interested in future blood donation opportunities, please visit savealifenow.org for the calendar of upcoming events, and look forward to another campus blood drive in September!