By Jim Hambrick
What a fantastic start to the fall sports season at NDSU. The huge win by the Bison football team at Kansas State was another example of how far the athletic programs have progressed since the switch to Division I. Congratulations to all of the players and coaches for this significant victory.
As I had the opportunity to attend yet another Bison game away from the FargoDome, it got me to thinking — Boy, do we travel well! It was great to see all 4,000 to 5,000 of us Bison fans journey to Manhattan, Kansas to the cheer on our favorite team. Whether it is 20,000 plus fans traveling to Minneapolis or 15,000 (or more) to Frisco, Texas or a strong contingent to all the conference games, the show of support has certainly grown over the past years. And, thank you to Sherri Schmidt and the NDSU Alumni Association for the great pre-game events they organize and host!
But it isn’t just the number of fans that really impresses me; it is the class in which we handle ourselves that I think is particularly important. Numerous times on my trips to away games, our hosts from other schools have been very complimentary to our team and our fans. During the trip to Kansas, my crew had to make a number of convenience store stops for gas and snacks (and yes, restroom breaks). At almost every store we visited, c-store staff and customers commented on how many NDSU supporters they had encountered and all of them wished us well.
So, I think all NDSU Team Makers and fans should give yourselves a deserved pat on the back for the support you provide to the student athletes and the respect you give our opponents. We want to continue cheering on our teams at home and away competitions by showing up in large numbers and acting in a first class manner. NDSU is definitely getting some impressive national exposure with the first game on Fox Sports One and ESPN Game Day being in Fargo. Not only has the performance of the NDSU student athletes caught the attention of the national media, but also our strong fan support has been an influence.
Naturally, as a Team Maker, I hope all of this attention will help grow our membership. Under the current leadership of Ken Zetocha (President) and Paul Bougie (Fund Drive Chair), our numbers both in terms of members and dollars have hit new records. We now have over 2,300 members and I would bet someday soon we’ll set a goal for 3,000 or more. To do this, it is extremely helpful to have the national exposure NDSU is earning so that alumni throughout the country can get excited and join us. It is very easy to sign up! Just check out our tab at gobison.com or call 701-231-9555.
As the Kansas State/NDSU game came to an end and I looked around our Bison section, I couldn’t have been more proud of the athletic program under Gene Taylor’s leadership and our fans. So again, take a bow Bison fans. Please keep up the support for all of the student athletes.