(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
"Winning the Class AA boy's basketball championship for two years in a row was no small feat, and we thought they needed a day of celebration," Greg Miller, bank president, said.
Each ball player and staff member was recognized, as they stood outside the bank entrance. Southern Bank of Commerce contributed $5,006 to the BIC Ring Fund, established at the bank.
A special photo collage video was prepared for the event, and guests moved inside to enjoy looking at the photographs taken during the basketball season.
"We produced the collage video with contributions from many photographers and newspapers," Miller said. "It is set to music and is sure to be a collectors item. We are making the video available to anyone who contributes $10 to the state championship ring fund. Every dollar collected will go directly to the fund, as we will take care of all the cost to reproduce the video ourselves."
Anyone wishing to make a contribution is asked to contact Coach Bill Taylor at 926-3931.
Leachville Mayor Ralph Wells, Monette Mayor David Fletcher and Black Oak Mayor Norman Williams were in attendance to praise the young men for their accomplishment, and presented a proclamation declaring March 21, 2006 as Buffalo Island Central Mustangs Day.
The proclamation read as follows: "Congratulating the 2006 Buffalo Island Central Mustangs on winning the second consecutive Class AA State Boys Basketball Championship. Whereas, the 2005-2006 BIC basketball team is comprised of the following: Brooks Taylor, Derek Rolland, Eric Wallace, Hunter Smith, Cord Rose, Jordan Phillips, Lance Davis, Jordan Griggs, Randy Ibanez, Nick Birdno, Brian Whitlow, Terry Roach, Garrett Qualls, Trevor Matheny, Lee Birdno, Blake Smithee, Shane Barnes, Larry Reid; managers, Anthony Sims and Shane Hawville; coach Bill Taylor, and assistant coach, Mark Hurst."
"Be it resolved by the cities of Black Oak, Leachville and Monette, Tuesday 21, 2006 is herby proclaimed Buffalo Island Central Mustangs Day. The citizens of Buffalo Island express their sincere thanks to the team and coaches for representing the Buffalo Island School District as Real Champions by their sportsman like conduct and hard work."
"We are so proud of this team and their coaching staff," Miller said. "We have followed them all year and have taken great pride in their accomplishments."
Many gifts were presented to Coach Bill Taylor and his wife Lynda. Miller presented the Taylors with framed pictures, which included one of the state winning team, one of their son Brooks Taylor receiving Most Valuable Player award, and one of "the hug" a photo captured of father and son, Bill and Brooks Taylor, embracing after the state victory. Mrs. Taylor was presented with a dozen roses. The Taylors were given tickets to attend opening day, April 10, at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
One of the biggest surprise gifts was a large solid oak desk for Coach Taylor.
"We found out that Coach Taylor had the smallest desk of all the coaches in the conference," Miller said. "That would just not do. Now he has the largest desk. Gamble Furniture Company, in Manila, worked on the project, supplied funding and had it shipped in for this occasion.
"This is a special team, coached by special coaches. They deserve the best."
Pizzas for the celebration were donated by Corner Mart, sodas by Farmers Market and a big screen television for showing the video by Robertson Brothers Furniture.
"The bank personnel has gone all out in support again this year, above and beyond," Bill Taylor said. "They attended every game here and away. We can't begin to tell them how much we appreciate all they have done. They have done everything possible to support us. If there was a need they tried to meet it. So many people who couldn't attend the state games got to listen to them on the radio, thanks to their sponsorship.
"The emotional support from the whole school district has been phenonominal. Our fans followed us to the games and cheered us on. We knew they were out there rooting for us and that helped so much. All of the team feels that they are very special to be called Mustangs. They represented the school proudly. No doubt that the state has heard about BIC, and will continue to do so."