There’s something about flags. And a huge display like the one that sets off the impressive Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps exhibit at the Great Bend Public Library can’t help but draw in visitors looking for a place to cool off during the June Jaunt celebration in Great Bend this weekend. The display is made possible thanks to a collaboration between the Kansas Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution’s Hometown Teams project.
With 30 years of history, the collection of intimate photographs, newspaper articles, trophies, instruments, scores, uniforms, and even audio-visual displays can’t help but provide those who participated in this home town team’s reign a sense of deep pride and nostalgia, and those who have only heard the stories a vision for what once was, and perhaps what is possible in the future.
The story of how a community rallied behind its young people and achieved sustained greatness is one that resounds, especially as one lingers over a display of letters from dignitaries around the country who wrote to directors Glenn and Sandra Opie over the course of a few decades with their admiration and appreciation for the Corps. Letters which included praise from Kansas Governor Robert Docking, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs Jack W. Steadman, and Bob Dole, Member of Congress.
The Home Town Team exhibit will be on display at the Great Bend Public Library through September 5. Special events planned for later in the summer include a Dixieland Music and Watermelon Feed on the library lawn June 19 at 6 p.m., and on July 11, the Reunion and Drum Corps International Show will arrive for the exhibit dedication. The Drum Corps International show “March of the Champions,” will be held at Great Bend High School Stadium on Tuesday, July 14 at 7 p.m., with tickets available online at www.dci.org.
Sports themed movies will be shown throughout the summer, and the Open Book Club will read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall in June and “Our Boys” by Joe Drape in July.
The Hometown Teams initiative explores the way sports build and unite communities.