Mike Condren Memoir

Hog Fan

It was natural for me to become a Hog Fan. At an early age my parents took me to high school football and basketball games in Van Buren. In Sept. 1956, we went to Little Rock to see Arkansas play Oklahoma A & M University, now known as Oklahoma State University.

We drove to Dallas for the 1955 Cotton Bowl Game. In high school, my great aunts Margaret Adams and Lonnie "Bill" James took me to the Homecoming parades and games in Fayetteville. As a member of the Van Buren High School Band, we attended Band Day at Fayetteville during the fall of 1959.

As a UofA freshman, I tried out for the Razorback Marching Band and became a member of the percussion section, playing tenor drum and later cymbal. That fall we made a road trip to Austin, TX and beat the University of Texas at their home field. The band always made the trip to the Little Rock games and one game in Texas. After my freshman year we always made the trip to SMU or TCU, always staying in Dallas at the Baker Hotel in downtown.

In Oct. 1963, the band traveled to Heber Springs, AR to perform at the dedication of Greer's Ferry Dam. The keynote speaker that day in October was President John F. Kennedy. I hid my Argus C3 camera in my tall uniform hat and got some distant pictures of JFK a little more than a month before his assination.

Another connection with JFK was a night in the Baker Hotel with a room overlooking what would become the parade route through downtown Dallas a few days before his assassination. I recall where I was on that day in Nov. I had just finished lunch and was on my way to US History class when I saw students running to cars, listening to the radio. I heard the news and headed to class. The prof for my class was blind and had a seeing eye dog that he brought to class. The lecture area was razed above the normal floor. He began his lecture pacing as he lectured, never getting close to the edge. About 1:10pm there was a knock at the door. Dr. Pine answered the door and was told that the President was dead. We were then dismissed.

In 1988 I was on my first sabbatical, working at UofA. On Nov. 22 it was raining but I repeated my footsteps of 25 years before but stood outside that classroom to hear a discussion of the events from 25 years earlier. On Nov. 22, 2013 I drove to Fayetteville and followed my steps of 50 years earlier around the campus.

Since the Texas Book Depository was a short walk from Dallas Union Terminal, I spent a lot of time in that part of town in the 1960s. In Feb. 2012, Jan had a meeting in Dallas. While she was at her meeting, I spent time at DUT, the passenger station, and got these pictures of Dealey Plaza. I apologize if you have seen these before.

Dealy Plaza in Feb 2012

During my 5 years at UofA, the Razorbacks made it to 4 bowl games, 2 Cotton Bowls and 2 Sugar Bowls. At the Jan. 1, 1965 Cotton Bowl, the Hogs beat the University of Nebraska 10 to 7. After the game several of us members of the band took up a collection among our members to send a telegram to the Texas football team who was scheduled to play Alabama in the Orange Bowl. If Texas beat Alabama, the only other undefeated football team, then the 1964 Hogs would be National Champs. Texas did beat Alabama that night! We actually cheered for Texas that night as we gathered around TVs to watch the game at our hotel near Love Field in Dallas.

As a member of the Razorback Marching Band, I performed with “Doc” Severinson from the “Tonight” show and New Orleans musicians Pete Fountain and Al Hirt.

While in grad school I did not make many games. However, I did go to the 1966 Cotton Bowl where Arkansas lost to LSU to break its 22 game winning streak.

After I started teaching at The College of the Ozarks, my folks and I had season tickets to all Little Rock and Fayetteville football games and Fayetteville basketball games.

My folks, Matt, and I attended the 1989 and 1990 Cotton Bowl games.

We saw the "Barn" get remodeled and the Budd Walton arena get constructed. My folks, Matt and I were at the first game in Budd Walton when it opened for an exhibition game. We followed the Hogs to their 1994 National Championship.

I joined my folks in their RV for the 1994 Danny Ford tour of northern AR. We picked up Virginia and Matt in West Memphis and they finished out the tour. Those on the tour when we stopped in Eureka Springs had our picture taken with the cheer leaders, men with the female cheerleaders, females with the male cheerleaders.

The kids joined the Danny Ford Tour in West Memphis and had their picture taken with the Razorback and the cheerleaders in Russellville.

My folks, Matt and I continued to attend the Little Rock football games until Dad's death in 2002.

We continue to follow the Hogs on TV.

This page was designed and is maintained by Mike Condren. If you have materials
that you would like to contribute, contact me at mcondren@cbu.edu