Old MHS trophies to be made available to public

By Steve Sell
July 31, 2015

In what once was the lobby of old Park School Auditorium, which is air conditioner-less and nothing short of broiling in these dog days of summer, some loyal Bullpup supporters are diligently piecing together McPherson High School history.

On tables, as well as in boxes, hundreds of trophies that represented the success of McPherson High’s storied history reside. 

These are separate from the trophies and plaques that swell the cases in the MHS Activity Center. In those cases are the more than half-a-hundred state championship trophies as well as regional and sub-state championship plaques.

Because of MHS’ inordinate success, there are probably about 300 trophies still housed at Park School. They include everything from debate trophies to a powder puff football championship trophy.

During Reunion Weekend, on Saturday, Aug. 8, many of these Park School trophies are going to be available for a minimum donation of id="mce_marker"0 at the Warehouse from 9 a.m. to noon. It was thought that with so many MHS alums back in town, they might want to purchase a trophy perhaps from a competition they took part in.

David Ferrell, one of the supporters working on the program, said the proceeds will go to the trophy restoration fund. MHS officials are hoping to build another trophy case for the ever-burgeoning collection.

What is so distinguishable about the old trophies is their size. Trophies in the 1940s and 1950s, through the 1970s and 1980s, are much larger than those given today. And they’re made of high-quality wood. “They still look good today,” Ferrell said.

There are about 150 trophies on tables, but many more that have been boxed and marked. The oldest trophy is for boys basketball from 1946.

There are trophies for virtually every sport. There are more than 80 debate trophies alone and more than 70 for track and field (and that’s not counting the KSHSAA trophies, which will not be included in the auction).

Trophies that are not auctioned off will be given to the Special Olympics for re-use, Ferrell said.

MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus said this has been a labor of love for the supporters, who also include Mark Heidebrecht, Carol Swenson, DeWayne Herrs and Craig Hill.

“This process all started earlier this summer as this group of loyal Bullpup supporters were searching for the missing statues from the boys basketball championship trophies from the 70s,” Backhus said. “It turned into a project lasting several weeks where they have sorted and categorized hundreds of trophies that have been in storage at Park Warehouse since the renovation at MHS that took place in the late 1990s.”

Some of them were in rough shape, but a little TLC has brought them back to life.

“Through all their work, they have repaired and restored numerous trophies that date back decades,” Backhus said.

He went on to say McPherson’s success in activities necessitated this being done.

“As this project went on, we decided that we will never have enough display areas for all the trophies in storage,” Backhus said. “We will keep all trophies won at KSHSAA postseason events, league events and other high-profile tournaments such at the McPherson Invitational Tournament.  That left us with dozens of trophies from events such as school invitationals. We are making these available at the MHS reunion weekend for alumni that may have had a significant role on those teams for a donation. We hope to be able to add additional trophy cases at MHS in the near future to display these trophies that have not been seen for 20 years.  I can't thank this group enough for the work that they have done this summer.”