Big Red rally set for Vienna park
PARKERSBURG — Roger Stoops wore a red shirt with the words “Once A Big Red Always A Big Red” on it during an event last summer in celebration of Parkersburg High School.
Those at the picnic liked the shirt so much they decided to have T-shirts made with this slogan on them for the second annual “Once A Big Red Always A Big Red Rally” from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna.
Some of the T-shirts were distributed to students at PHS. If any shirts are leftover, they will be given out at Thursday’s rally.
Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, sub sandwiches and salad will be provided, free of charge, at the picnic to Big Red fans, supporters, coaches and students, said an organizer. The rally is being provided by Big Red supporters.
Stoops, 78, a 1960 graduate of PHS, was a member of successful sports teams at the high school.
Stoops won state wrestling championships as a junior at 127 pounds in 1959 and as a senior in 1960 at 133 pounds. PHS won state wrestling titles in 1958 and 1959 while he was on the team.
Stoops, who lives in Pennsboro, was a linebacker on the state championship football team in 1958 and the state runner-up football team in 1959. He said he also played guard on offense at times.
Head wrestling coach Bob Dutton and assistant coach Paul “Hoss” Starr were good coaches and good people, Stoops said.
Parkersburg High School was a great school with great teachers, Stoops said of his days as a Big Red.
“The teachers cared about you and expected you to do the right thing,” Stoops said.
Stoops remembers a packed Stadium Field for the PHS football games.
When Stoops attended PHS in the late 1950s and 1960, 3,000 students attended the school, he said.
Stoops said it was easy to hitch a ride in town while wearing his Big Red jacket during his high school years.
After graduation from PHS, Stoops worked at Ames and DuPont.
Stoops’ wife, Nancy, had the Big Red shirt made for him for last summer’s PHS rally at Dils Riverfront Park.
Paul LaPann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org