The Washburn University community was out in full force this past weekend for Friday Night Madness in Lee Arena. As the combination pep rally and dance contest got underway, the audience was greeted with quick speeches by Lady Blues volleyball coach Chris Herron and Washburn President Jerry Farley, among other speakers.
However, for many, the highlight of the evening was seeing all of Washburn’s various sports teams compete in the dance contest. Whether it was the football team’s rousing rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” or the soccer team’s vision of a world in which the geriatric community can be accepted as equal to the youth, entertainment was had by all.
Washburn Student Government Association president and emcee for the evening, Caley Onek, discussed the origin of the experience, taking over the Student Athletic Advisory Committee’s Gong Show.
“They didn’t have the funding to put it on,” said Onek. “So we decided that we wanted to have a really big pep rally during Homecoming week, right before the Homecoming football game, to just get a bunch of students out here, have a lot of fun, have the coaches talk, have the athletes be able to perform dances, and let the students get to know the athletes on a whole new level.”
Overall, Onek was more than satisfied with the results of the evening
“I think it went considerably well,” said Onek. “We started out ten minutes before, and there weren’t too many people there, and by the end of the show, the whole side over there was packed. That holds 1,000 students.
“So we had quite a few students here, which is great. Ralph Hipp from WIBW ended up coming over after the 10 o’clock news to help out. I can’t believe it went as long as it did. I think since it built so much from last year, we’re going to have to watch time limits now.”
Last year’s Friday Night Madness champions, the men’s basketball team, took a decidedly different approach to this year’s contest in a real crowd pleaser, even exploiting a back-flipping 10-year-old boy in the process.
“This year, we decided to give audience members an opportunity to dance and give them a chance to win a couple prizes,” said Bobby Chipman, sophomore forward. “We randomly did pick out people, and it happened to be a young boy with some dance moves. He got the crowd on their feet, and I was impressed.”