I’m not the greatest track and field man who has ever existed, but I do have a couple, well maybe three, highlights – actually two highlights and one low light since I first attended the Bluebonnet Relays. I don’t remember the first year because that’s how big a fan I was, but probably the first vivid memory I have is back in the mid-sixties, and at that time Brownwood hosted the meet and they would normally invite at least seven big schools to come in and compete. Old Lions Stadium at that time was just a dirt track but we would always get some pretty good competition
to come to town.
In ’65 they invited Coleman in. Now, classification wise they would have been in a separate classification, but there were no classifications in the track meet at that time. So, the mile relay was up. Last event of the night. There were obviously eight teams running, six of them huge schools, and one of them Brownwood and one of them Coleman.
They started the race and it was pretty good on the first lap and second lap, but by the third lap Coleman had fallen back and I think everybody had kind of anticipated that. The final guy who got the hand off, and
everybody running was almost half way around, was Riley Dunn. By the time he was a quarter of the way around the track, the crowd was standing and did he ever put on a show. He ended up eclipsing everyone in the field and ended up winning the mile relay. Now, he wouldn’t have won it without the other three guys but, without Riley Dunn Coleman would have finished dead last.
My second memory was many years later. The 70’s. This was at Gordon Wood Stadium and Lampasas had a kid named Johnny Jones. He was “Lam” Jones. He was a terrific runner in the 800 and 400 and had state records, and that day he’s running for the first time ever the 100 yard dash. The prelims were held on a cold morning and when the gun fired to start the race, he was dead last, but then all of a sudden he just exploded! He ran past everyone and crossed the finish line. People were looking at themselves saying “What was that?”
We had eight watches down on the track, one for each runner. One of the first ones that came up was 9 flat for Johnny Jones. Believe it or not, there were two other watches that showed a 9 flat, but the others had him at 9.1. It’s still the fastest I’ve seen anybody run the 100 yard dash. In the finals that night, we got him at 9.1 and officially they gave him a 9.2.
Highlight number three – maybe a low light instead of a highlight. I had been asked a few times to do the PA at the Bluebonnet Relays. I said, “No, I’m not a track guy.” Fact is, Bluebonnet Relays got so little support that they actually cancelled it for a few years. Then, here came Steve Freeman and Freeman decided in the 90’s that we needed to get the relays running again so he came and talked to me. He said, “ I want you to do the PA for the Bluebonnet Relays”. To make a long story short, eventually I said, “Okay”. I went out there and I did both days. I did a Friday and a Saturday. My wife was with me or I would have probably died. The next year I went out and we did it again. My wife “couldn’t get off work”. Then the third year, Steve called and said, “I want you to do it again”. The problem was, I had a conflict on Saturday so I did Friday and somebody else filled in on Saturday. The next year Freeman had left but I was ready to go. I never got a call! They guy who had filled in for me did the whole track meet, and the next year, and the year after. I think it’s the first job I ever got fired from..
Until next time, so long everybody.
‘Out of the Box’ with Dallas Huston is published each Monday morning at BrownwoodNews.com. Dallas was the radio voice of the Brownwood Lions and Howard Payne Yellow Jackets for more than 55 years. He currently is Pastor of Center City Baptist Church and hosts a Men’s Bible Study in Brownwood on Monday evenings. Your comments are welcome at email@example.com.