Homecoming at Bakersfield College is a traditional “welcome home” to former students and Renegade alumni. It is a chance to celebrate, show school spirit, reflect back and establish memories.
The 2004 Homecoming, before 6,483 fans, was no exception.
“It was awesome,” said Jan Stuebbe, BC athletic director. “The Homecoming activities were very well done. It was a very good night, and everyone involved seem to have a lot of fun.”
After a week of Homecoming activities on the BC campus, such as the Pre-Med Club-Dunk Tank and the MEChA watermelon and pie eating contests, BC fans witnessed a memorable game in which the ‘Gades came back to win 17-14 over the visiting Citrus Owls.
The usual pregame procession around the track featured Homecoming dignitaries, the 2004 cheerleaders, as well as alumni cheerleaders from 1938-2003.
Becki Whitson, current cheer adviser and teacher at BC, has been involved with Renegade spirit leaders for 30 years.
“Coming back to cheer for the ‘Gades is the highlight of our year,” Whitson said. “Some of us don’t miss it. Homecoming is marked on our calendar.”
Some of those who come back regularly are David Fanucchi and David Boydstun (’38), Sally Hill (’65), Nicole Scanlon (co-adviser for the 2004 squad) and Marvin Ramey (uncle of 2004 cheerleader Shari Ramey and one-time cheer adviser).
Fanucchi and Boydstun are lifetime members of the Alumni Association.
Whitson also sang the national anthem. “It was the first time I’ve sung it solo,” Whitson said.
Assisting the cheerleaders in pumping up the crowd was the BC pep band. The band is made up of students who attend an on-campus music class and former BC band members. A very spirited Robby Martinez led the band.
Richard French, a 1965 alumnus, who plays the sousaphone, said he plays once or twice a year when in town but always at Homecoming.
“I have fun doing this,” French said. “I still remember how to play the fight song. And the kids that are in the band now, I’ve kind of adopted. They call me dad.”
The traditional halftime festivities began with a procession of convertibles led by Don Turney, dean of students; Lincoln Hall, BC president; and Ken Meier, vice president of student learning. They were followed by the king and queen candidates and Homecoming floats.
Turney, master of ceremonies, announced the winners of the 2004 Homecoming king and queen as well as the winner of the float contest. Those winners, picked in an election held during Homecoming week, were Joushya Cole and Ilaise Tupoc. Runner-up candidates of the king and queen court were Pedro Guerra and Violet Martinez and Enrique Martinez and Anna Gomez.
The floats were constructed and designed with this year’s theme of Board Game. The clubs that participated were the African-American Student Union (Trivia Game), the Agriculture Club (Wheel of Fortunes), the Engineers Club (Mouse Trap), MEChA (Twister) and Pre-Med Club (Operation). The Engineers Club won, and the Pre-Med Club took second.
Turney praised the African-American club for its suggestions for Homecoming festivities, including having the student body vote for king and queen.
As with most Homecomings, there were several highlights. But one was very special for BC running back Rickey Herod. About 100 family members, some from Texas (Herod is from Ft. Worth) and Sacramento, came to the Homecoming game to cheer on Herod. The family sat together, wearing T-shirts that read mother, aunt, cousin, etc. They stood most of the game, cheering loudly.
“It was totally a surprise that some of them came,” Herod said. “It gave me more energy and made me play with more zeal. I wanted to put on a show, so I played hard on every down.”
Another highlight of the night was the Tri-tip Cook-off. The cook-off took place in the stadium parking before the game and was judged by five Olympic gold medalists. “It was the first time we have done this,” Stuebbe said. “We had a lot of tailgaters that participated, and it was a lot if fun. We had five gold medalists led by Crystal Bustos do the judging. They wore their medals and walked around and tasted the tri-tip.”
This year’s Homecoming committee consisted of Kikue Higashida (SGA activities liaison), Bethany Johnson (senator) the AASU Club, the Engineers’ Club, MEChA, the Native American Cultural Awareness Club, the Pre-Med Club, Turney and Carla Reyes.