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At the Mike: Happy Independence Day, wrestling and The Ferrari
At the Mike - photo by Barton Sports Information

It’s the Fourth of July weekend and in Great Bend that means get your hard hat. I have never been in a town that allows more freedom of Independence Day than right here in Great Bend.

That is a good thing. Independence Day is all about freedom. I understand some restrictions in place during dry years, which happened here a couple years back. I also remember officiating a little kids’ football game that year at Memorial Stadium and the fireworks started. I was working the sideline of the opposing team and they had no idea what was going on.

Some towns do not allow fireworks in the city limits at all any year. That, I do not understand. After all, this is a celebration of our country’s independence – that is a big thing, no?

Some of the biggest days in the USA history have kind of been pushed aside and forgotten. I bet a majority of the younger generation couldn’t tell you why June 6 is important. Perhaps a lot that couldn’t tell you why December 7 is a day that will live in infamy.

But most can tell you about the Fourth of July – not just the fireworks but why we shoot them.

So barricade your block and have it. Let Freedom Ring!

As Barton heads into its second month of summer things on the hill are pretty slow sports-wise. Recruiting season is pretty much over for all the sports and the arrival of students is more than a month away.

Most of the summer camps and leagues have come to an end with some very good participation and competition taking place.

Most of the news in the sports arena at the college has been the construction of the wrestling area. A pair of old housing units are now the coaching office/locker room and the wrestling room.

Adding wrestling to the athletic department was a good move for the college. Western Kansas is a wrestling hot-bed – just go to the 3-2-1A state tournament in Hays sometime and see how well attended and enthusiastic the fans and kids are.

Couple that with the fact only Fort Hays, Colby and Pratt have wrestling programs in the western half of the state it shouldn’t take long for Barton and coach Mike Bammes to be a top level program.

With the addition of Barton there are now five teams in the Jayhawk Conference with wrestling including Labette and Neosho County.

Here is an update on another former athlete from Barton – ChrisDell Harris. She is one of the top stars in the Legends Football League – formerly the Lingerie Football League.

When the league first started in 2011 a pair of former Barton athletes were involved – Harris and Sunshine Uli. Ironically both were multisport athletes while at Barton. Both played basketball for Coach Lane Lord while Uli also played volleyball and Harris was a sprinter in track.

Uli retired from the league after a couple seasons with the Las Vegas Sin but Harris, Wichita native, has thrived. Nicknamed ‘The Ferrari’, Harris is a running back for the Chicago Bliss. She led the league in rushing in 2013 and was the LFL Offensive Player of the Year last year.

The Bliss won the LFL championship in both 2013 and 2014 and are currently 4-0 this season.

That’s it for this week – here’s to a safe and adventurous Independence Day to all!