By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
After driving 13 hours to get to Omaha on Sunday, Fifth Circuit Court Judge Joey Loper of Ackerman had to do a double take.
“Everywhere I looked it was maroon and white,” He said. “It was like we were in Starkville for the Super Bulldog Weekend.”
Loper is one of several Choctaw Countians who made the long trip to Nebraska this week in order to see the Mississippi State University Bulldogs take part in the College World Series.
MSU won its first game in the CWS 11 days ago and won twice more without a loss to reach the best-of-three championship series against UCLA, which began on Monday.
But Loper wasn’t able to head to Omaha until Sunday.
“I had a court term going on and couldn’t get free,” Loper said. “But as they kept winning and the term began to close it looked like I could make it. I had said if they make it to the championship series, I’m going.”
“The atmosphere is just overwhelming,” said District 35 Rep. Joey Hood of Choctaw County, who made the trip west with his wife Cynthia and sons Jonah, 4, and Owen, 2.
“We were at the game on Friday,” he said. “The great thing was being able to celebrate going to the championship with my son. Now I hope I get to celebrate a National Championship with him.”
The 1995 graduate of French Camp Academy, said he enjoyed following the sports teams when he was a student at Mississippi State. “I was a freshman when they made it to the Final Four (in basketball) and wasn’t able to go. I said if they ever got that far again, I was going to try and make it.”
French Camp Mayor Glen Barlow also made it to Omaha in time to see the Bulldogs win over Oklahoma State last Friday. While he is certainly pulling for the ‘Dogs, Barlow is also part of the pre and post game broadcast crew for WFCA, which is the originating radio station for MSU sports.
“When I got here and saw all of the State fans I thought they were shutting the lights off in Mississippi,” he said. “I would venture to say that the hotel we are staying in is 75 to 80 percent Mississippi State fans and I think the others are the same way.”
He said that Omaha was an amazing host city.
“They just do a good job with it,” he said. “No matter where you go the people here welcome you with open arms and are very friendly.”
Paul Courtney, offensive coordinator for the Choctaw County High School football team, said he has been waiting a long time for this opportunity.
“I’ve been a Mississippi State fan my whole life,” said Courtney. “Never in my lifetime have we had a chance to do something like this.
“I’ve really been impressed with the amount of Maroon and the number of State fans I have seen walking around town,” said Courtney, who pulled into Omaha wit three friends on Monday mooring. “I think they have renamed TD Ameritrade Park (where the World Series is being played) to Dudy Noble North.”