FRISCO, TX (KELO) — Many South Dakota State University football fans are back home following an exciting national championship win in Frisco, Texas.
That includes more than a hundred people who rode the KELOLAND VIP FANFare fan buses.
“It’s been awesome. Get the chance to meet new people. Even within both buses, you know, and we get afterwards and talk to other people from the other bus. You know, we’re all Jackrabbit fans and we’re all from Sioux Falls, Brookings and into Minnesota and Iowa. It’s been great,” SDSU fan Roger Hansen said.
Jerome Garry, Gary Maffett and Allan Hojer all played football at South Dakota State in the 1970s. They reunited while riding on the same bus down to Frisco.
Jerome Garry played tight end from 1975-1979.
“It was a real privilege to be a former Jackrabbit and to be a part of this affair down here this year. We came down in ’21 and came up a little bit short, so coming down here now was wonderful. Comparing the late 70s to nowadays, there’s very little comparison. From facilities to the size and speed of the athletes,” Garry said.
Gary Maffett played quarterback from 1976-1979.
“They have a coaching staff now that’s unbelievable. Coaches that coach every position, where back in the 70s, we had like four. Recruiting is unbelievable now. The amount of scholarships is just astronomical now, but they have to in order to keep up with Division I football,” Maffett said.
Allan Hojer was a linebacker and played form 1977-1980.
“I believe even as we were part of that first team in 1979 that made the playoffs the first time. I guess I want to believe that was a beginning of something big that we’ve seen happen yesterday,” Hojer said.
And for these former players, being in Frisco was a reunion of sorts.
“It feels like yesterday even though it’s been over 40 years guys, and we got to see some of our former players we haven’t seen in 40 years. We seen them this weekend. It was awesome,” Hojer said.
Maffett says all these other Jackrabbit fans are like family.
“You should see the bus. I mean, we’re the fun bus and we have a great time together, and we’ve all got to learn to get along together. It’s been a really good time,” he said.
“Meeting new people, there’s other people that I knew that we’ve got to spend time with,” Hojer said.
“A group of 50, you come in knowing maybe two or three people. You go home knowing probably 20-30 of them,” Garry said.
The buses arrived back in Sioux Falls around 5:00 p.m. Monday and then made a trip to Brookings to drop off the rest of the fans.
Below are some additional photos from people riding the fan buses sent to KELOLAND News.