BOONE: The County Keg

In 1957, the Montgomery County Coaches Association decided to institute some symbol of county basketball superiority that would become a “traveling trophy,” similar the Indiana-Purdue Old Oaken Bucket. After some discussion, the coaches agreed to use a small wooden keg, purchased at a local hardware store and donated by the Sportsman Shop. The rules for possession the keg were simple. A team had to beat the owner of the wooden trophy during regular season play, which included the County Tourney, but not the Sectional. Of course, no team outside the county or Crawfordsville, could claim the prize and the school that had the keg at the end of the season could cherish it until the next basketball season rolled around. To figure out which school would have possession of the keg first, the names of all nine county schools were placed in a hat to be drawn out. The Alamo Warriors became the first team to own the much desired keg on November 1, 1957. The Warrior fans could not foresee it at the time, but that was the first and last time that the little school would possess the trophy. Three and a half weeks later the tribe lost the keg to a hungry Darlington delegation. That was on November 26, 1957, and Alamo never won the keg by beating another county school. Mike Spencer of Coal Central Central remembers how exciting and important winning the Keg was. He reminisced about winning the Keg in 1962. “We went to New Market and beat them. They had the Keg and we took possession,” he said. “Well, when we came out of the school to get on the bus, it seemed like everyone from CCC was there congratulating us. We felt like we had won the County. Bob Tandy was New Market’s coach and Don Hipes for us. Tandy never got over that. We lost the keg the next week to Waveland, but we were big shots for awhile. Mike went on, “The Keg was transported to games by the cheerleaders. If the game was away, it rode on the fan bus with the cheerleaders. If the game and the Keg were lost, the losing cheerleaders handed it over to the victorious cheerleaders. It was a very emotional moment. There were a lot of tears from the losing cheerleaders and a lot of big smiles from the winners. It was displayed in our office at the school while we had it, but it wasn’t there very long.” Fast forward 35 years to 2001; Mike recalls “I took my grandsons to the Hall of Fame in New Castle. What was one of the first things I saw? Yep, the Keg. They were truly amazed. To this day they still remember that day.” During the remainder of that season, the symbol of basketball supremacy changed hands two more times. The New Market Purple Flyers beat the Indians on January 10, 1958. Ed Stephens provided an interesting note when he shared the fact that the New Market cheerleaders were the only group to literally lose the keg. (His future wife, Patsy, was one of the cheerleaders) After winning the keg in the afternoon game of the County tourney, the NM cheerleaders decided to go to the Gin-Jer-Boo to celebrate. They went inside to eat and forgot to lock the keg in their car. When they came out, you guessed it, the keg was gone. Some kind souls returned it in time for championship game and the Flyers retained it until they really lost it to an up-and-coming New Ross “dynasty” on February 7. The Blue Jays were determined to keep a powerful grip on the winnings, and they managed to do just that for nearly two years, from February 7, 1958 to January 23, 1960, the keg wore the blue and white colors of New Ross. The Jays finally surrendered the trophy to an outstanding Linden team, but not without shedding a few well-deserved tears. New Ross felt sweet revenge, however, at the start of the next season as they grabbed the keg back from the tenacious Bulldogs on November 4, 1960. The time, the keg stayed in New Ross for more than 26 months — until January 20, 1962, when New Market again reclaimed the then very emotion-producing little wooden container.