LINDSAY, Neb. — If Lindsay’s playing football in town, you know who’s calling the game.
For 44 years, it’s been Vernell Korth who has been describing the action on the field.
The Norfolk Daily News (http://bit.ly/2dSX9H1 ) reports 85-year-old Korth started announcing in 1972 in the middle of the season because the school needed an announcer.
“The school couldn’t get anybody to do the games on the field, and I was on the (athletic) board. I said I’d do it one time, and one time turned out to be an eternity,” he said.
He started broadcasting basketball and football games, but for most of the 44 years, he’s focused solely on football.
Korth now broadcasts from a crow’s nest built for broadcasting, but the accommodations were not so luxurious in the beginning.
“We started out broadcasting from the back of my pickup on the sidelines,” he said. “My pickup had a wood stock rack. It worked out, and we borrowed a speaker . and we had an amplifier. We fixed it all together and that’s how we ran it for quite a while.”
They parked the pickup on the visitors sideline, and braved the elements to broadcast the games.
“It was pretty ugly at first,” he said of being out in the cold.
From there, the make-shift broadcasting facilities evolved into using the bottom of a windmill tower and platform.
“There were no steps, so we had to lift all of our equipment over the top,” he said.
Finally, the broadcast crow’s nest was built, and Korth was no longer on the sidelines, braving the wind and weather to call the game.
Korth and his wife, Lugene, have five children — Linda, Cindy, Carol, Rick and Alan — and being the play-by-play man gave Korth the opportunity to broadcast the games in which his children and grandchildren played.
“I went through my kids and my grandkids, and the great-grandkids will be a few years yet. The oldest one is 6 years old,” he said.
Korth’s isn’t sure if he’ll hang on to the job that long, but it’s been enjoyable for him.
“Once I get up here, it’s still enjoyable. I tell them as soon as you find somebody (I’ll retire), but they never find anybody for some reason,” he said with a laugh.
About 15 years ago, Ron Pfeifer started helping him by running the clock and identifying who was in on plays.
“It was pretty hard to keep track of the offense and defense,” he said.
Over the years, Korth has broadcast Lindsay’s 8-man football championship teams and two 11-man football games.
Lindsay and Humphrey High School started co-opting sports last year, and he admits learning the names is a challenge, as it is for every announcer.
“I know I renamed a few kids over the years because I didn’t know how to pronounce them,” he said. “One night a lady came up . the steps (to the crow’s nest) and said, ‘My son’s name is not pronounced that way.’ So, I had a few of those.”
Back when he farmed, Fridays meant stopping his day job to call the games at night.
“At times it was tough. I’d be on the combine out at the farm, and I’d let the combine sit, and I’d get in the truck and come on in here. I’d be the only guy not combining. That was tough,” he said.
Information from: Norfolk Daily News, http://www.norfolkdailynews.com
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Norfolk Daily News.