June   8,   1996   (from   New   Orleans)

(Program opens with "Dixie" playing in background.)

Good morning, y'all! I'm Matt Erpelding!

I'm Jean Lappe!

And I'm Nick Reinhart! Welcome to a special edition of the "Bear Facts" coming to you direct from the Big Easy, New Orleans.

The Golden Bear quiz bowl team travelled more than twelve hundred miles last weekend before we finally arrived in the Crescent City. On the way down we basically drove and drove and drove some more. We passed through parts of seven states: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana--even slicing through a little corner of Kentucky so we could say we'd been there. Out the window the farmland turned to forest and then the forest turned to swamp. Finally we drove right through the middle of the swamp on a bridge about thirty miles long before we finally arrived at Loyola University in New Orleans.

We're here as Iowa's only representative in the fifty-eight team National Academic Championships. The Bears qualified for this prestigious tournament by winning the Algona PTO Quiz Bowl last winter, and this is the second straight year that a team from Garrigan qualified for Nationals. Our team was younger and less experienced than last year's, and we figured our success would have a lot to do with getting good pairings in the random drawing for opponents.

Unfortunately, luck didn't really go our way. Our first opponent was St. John's High School from Houston, Texas. Their team consisted of two seniors who were bound for Harvard, one senior who was going to Cornell University in New York, and a junior who had already won an engineering championship. Aaron Twait, who was the captain of last year's Golden Bear team, said that St. John's was even better than East Brunswick, the only team that the Bears lost to last year. Well, St. John's pretty much kicked our keesters. The final score was 480 to 150, with St. John's scoring the second highest total in the tournament. The good news was that we made a respectable showing, and our score wasn't even close to being the lowest overall.

Our second game was closer. We played Monsignior Kelly High School from Beaumont, Texas. With just minutes to go, we were ahead 195 to 190. Unfortunately luck turned against us again. Kelly went on a roll right at the end, and we ended up losing 310 to 195. It was a good game, and we definitely felt like we were in it all the way.

After our second game we had the rest of the day off. We took a streetcar ride into the French quarter to see all the sights and sounds of one of America's most interesting cities. One of the most fascinating things we saw was a sideshow with break dancers that featured one guy who lept over eleven volunteers from the audience. We were also entertained by the endless parade of musicians, dancers, mimes, artists, and fortune tellers. One card reader predicted that Nick would find true love close to home. She amazed me by telling about my past, but she said the people I hang around with weren't as successful as they should be--maybe that explains our losing.

We spent most of the day wandering around the French Quarter--from the fun-filled sleeze of Bourbon Street to the shores of the mighty Mississippi River. After spending the whole day walking, it was kind of nice to sit down for mass as St. Louis Basilica. We poked our heads in at a really stupid dance the tournament sponsored and then went back and rested up for another day of competition.

On our last day of competition, our luck didn't change a whole lot. We faced Irmo High School from Columbia, South Carolina, the only team that had qualified for the national tournament in each year of its fourteen year history. Irmo pretty much wiped us, with a final score of 425 to 110. Then in the afternoon we took on Alief-Hastings High School, another huge school from suburban Houston. We played a really good game, but once again Lady Luck wasn't with us. Texas got the best of us, 400 to 145. So, we lost all four games, but it's not like anyone is really very upset about it. We played our best, we had a lot of fun, and we showed we could hold our own against the top teams in the nation.

Now that the tournament is over, it's time to have some more fun. By the time this broadcast airs, we'll be back in Algona, after two more days packed with seeing the sights of Dixie. After taking on the toughest teams in America, almost anything else would be a day at the beach, but for us the reward for toughing it out really is a day at the beach--on the beautiful white sand beaches of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Some of our group will bask in the sunshine, while others will see things like the NASA rocket testing facility. Then it's off to the Civil War battlefield in Vicksburg, the famous town of Transylvania, Louisiana, and the arch and brewery in St. Louis.

The Garrigan delegation for this trip included eleven people. Our original starting line-up included Captain Jean Lappe, Matt Erpelding, Scott Reising, and Jeff Geving. All the alternates played, and they included Tim Mosbach, Jen Lighter, Brian Barth, and me--Nick Reinhart. Coach David Burrow came down with us, and Muriel Singer and Aaron Twait helped out with the driving. We'd like to thank Mr. Meister, Mr. Stence, and the BGHS Student Council for making it possible for us to come down here. We may not have done as well as last year's team, but we held our own with the best teams anywhere and t tournament sponsors said our sportsmanship was some of the best they had seen.

This special episode of marks a milestone on the "Bear Facts", the end of our fourth season on KLGA. It was back in September, 1992, that you heard these words for the first time...

.....Good morning! I'm Matt Erpelding!

Now, more than 140 episodes later, you're hearing them for the last time.

Matt was the very first announcer on the "Bear Facts", and throughout his years in high school he has been part of well over half of our weekly shows. Matt pioneered the casual, yet professional style that is our signature here on the "Bear Facts", and we'll definitely be starting a new era when he goes off to college next fall.

Jean and Nick will also be missed; they've contributed a lot with both writing and announcing. The "Bear Facts" has come a long way since we startd out four years ago. Our first year we had to go out to KLGA every week to record in a cramped studio on an ancient tape deck. Then we acquired some modern equipment that allows us to record the show at school and even, like this week, on location.

Over the years six "Bear Facts" announcers have gone on to careers in radio, both at KLGA and in other towns. Throughout its history the "Bear Facts" has been produced as a part of the Bishop Garrigan gifted and talented program, and we're proud to say that this spring the show was honored by a group of educators of the gifted as one of the top career-based extra-curricular activities in Iowa. It's a challenge to put the show together each week, but somehow we manage, especially with the help of our faculty producer, Mr. David Burrow.

The calendar for this summer is pretty much the same as for every summer. There's CYO softball this weekend at Storm Lake. Then there's the endless parade of baseball and softball games all summer long. Then, before you know it, August will be here and it will be time for school to start up again.

So, it's time to say good-bye for another season of the "Bear Facts". Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you'll be hearing sme new voices next year as they bring you all the latest news from Bishop Garrigan High School.

(Program ends with "What a Wonderful World" playing in the background.)

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