Cotton Bowl 1967
Special thanks to SMU Archives and AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
Below are memories solicited by your webmaster from PHS classes 64-69
#1: I have a few memories of that trip.
A great game, a local boy, John Lagrone, played for SMU.. Jerry Levias was also a big star for SMU even though they didn't win the game both guys went on to play professionally.
It was the first big time college game for me. We had marched at Wichita State in 1965 but it was more like being in the Buffalo Bowl in Canyon. At the Cotton Bowl the packed stadium, the screaming crowd, the pageantry, we were in awe of it. We were accustomed to screaming crowds at Blackhawk games but this was much, much different. We had fun just watching and listening. Then came the half time show. We had been practicing all year since the summer for this half time routine. It had been hard because we were only a small part of the whole and we couldn't see how it would all come together until we did it for real. I don't think I played a note, just trying to make sure my steps and moves were right. And then it was over. Huge relief.
Now I can really enjoy the game!
We were in the end zone on field level. We saw almost nothing, but it was still a very exciting moment for a bunch of small town kids.
Think of it, we were a group of small town teenagers from Phillips, Texas, a very small 2-AA school and we were marching with 4-AAAA schools from Dallas and Houston at the Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl!!! In 1967 the Cotton Bowl was one of the four main bowl games that eventual college national championship football teams played in. And our little ole band was asked to march at halftime. It didn't have the significance at the time, but as the years go by I am awed by it.
It was/is a tribute to Ray Robbins. We at PHS had one of the premier music programs in the state and didn't realize it and probably didn't appreciate it. Can anyone remember a PHS band from that era ever getting anything but "1's" in contests. Mr. Robbins was good and we were privileged to have had him and Mrs. Creel teaching music to us. They were quite a team.
#2: I remember the 1967 band trip to the freezing cold Cotton Bowl and how exciting it was to travel as a Junior in high school to the big city of Dallas. I even remember staying at the Circle Motel, which was still operational when I moved into an apartment nearby in 1976. At the time, I thought there were many years and miles between 1967 and 1976. Now, I realize it was only a very short time!
#3: I remember how very cold it was and how we had to stand around for nearly two hours before we got to march. It was so hard to play because our fingers and mouths were SO cold. I remember getting to go to a MALL, something I certainly had never seen before. It was very special time to be a member of the Phillips Blackhawk Marching Band.
#4: There are so many memories of that trip. We stayed at the Circle Motel in northwest Dallas and in the rooms they had beds with “Magic Fingers”, a bed vibration mechanism that was supposed to relax you for a few minutes if you deposited a quarter. We only had one bed and two cots (there were four to a room) but we broke into the Magic Fingers box and had it on all night. One of our roommates brought his record player and played the original album of the Monkees constantly.
During the Cotton Bowl rehearsal it was almost chaos as we practiced with other bands; some of them marched 6-to-5 (six steps to 5 yards), but we marched 8-to-5. That was never considered by the organizers. All the bands were also bitched out by the guy in charge because we were screwing up the national anthem, a different arrangement than we were all used to playing (Phillips always played the J.P. Sousa version). We stayed late to get it right. Afterwards some of us went to dinner at El Chico’s and then we all went to Northpark Mall, the biggest indoor shopping area most of us had ever seen.
At the Cotton Bowl parade it was very cold and we felt sorry for the twirlers since they had to wear skimpy outfits. We got to see Jayne Ann Jayroe, the reigning Miss America (Miss Oklahoma) and we marched 20 blocks through the Texas State fairgrounds, Linda Culver leading the way. At the game we were seated on the field at the north end zone and it was very difficult to follow much of the action. At half time we all lined up on our assigned locations. The SMU band played a rendition of Zorba the Greek with two trumpet players playing a duet, one of whom was Harry James, Jr. The Kilgore Junior College Band also played and the Kilgore Rangerettes, a popular dance group, performed a dance routine much to the delight of us high school boys. Then when all of the high school bands got out onto the field we played and performed our marching routines of “3 Coins in a Fountain”, “She’s Too Fat For Me”, and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face (as we spelled out “MOM” on the field)”. We also formed a cross and a Star of David, something that would surely be politically incorrect, today. SMU lost the game, Georgia just had too good of a team.
As I said this trip had enough memories to fill a large book; I hope to see more.
Photos courtesy of Linda Akers '68