Viking Nation has long reach

The Barr-Reeve school district is fired up about today’s Seymour Semistate. The sign (top photo) adorning a fence at the Barr-Reeve parking lot says it all. Becky Hoffman (bottom photo) finishes a Barr-Reeve T-shirt at Rosie’s Shirt Shop in Loogotoee---Photo By Kelly Overton.

Barr-Reeve mania has spread from Montgomery to Florida and beyond as fans cheer the basketball team on to the semistate game in Seymour today.

Willard and Dorothy Graber, parents-in-law of B-R Coach Bryan Hughes, tuned into the sectional and regional games via Internet from their winter home near Sarasota, Fla. Their sons, Bob and Tony, who both attended Barr-Reeve, set up the computer in the back yard shed to broadcast the game.

But they didn’t just listen to the games. They turned them into yard parties complete with folding chairs, popcorn and barbecue, inviting their Florida neighbors, many of whom are also natives of the Barr-Reeve area. The 30 to 40 neighbors got so excited they even jokingly fought over front-row seats, said Willard Graber, nicknaming the yard “Birky Fieldhouse.”

“It’s amazing how you can almost feel like you’re at the game,” he said. “I don’t think we could get much more excited than we have been the last couple weeks.”

“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s fun to hear them call home and be excited,” said the Graber’s daughter and Coach Hughes’ wife, Jeannette.

Athletic Business Manager Charles Albert Kavanaugh said he’s heard from former players and coaches from as far away as Texas, California and Nevada who have been keeping close tabs on the team’s progress.

“It’s a good feeling to know we have that kind of support,” he said.

But the Barr-Reeve mania has also hit close to home. Rosie’s Shirt Shop in Loogootee has made about 200 commemorative T-shirts for the team and its fans for sectional and regional, and the business has plans to provide more shirts for the semistate game, said owner Rosie Bridges.

Kavanaugh said the winning streak has brought the community together like few other school-related activities can. They have celebrating with receptions and bonfires after the most recent wins and have supported the team by providing pizza and a catered dinner for players, cheerleaders, coaches and their families.

“It’s always amazing to see the amount of community solidarity created by moments like this,” he said.

This is the eighth sectional championship and the second regional championship for the team since 1980.

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