LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - There’s no doubt that there are a lot of Longview Lobo fans out there, especially after their state win last season. However, there is only one who has been buying season tickets for 70 consecutive years.
He’s got the mug to prove that he’s the number one Lobo fan, but Ralph Bailey’s history of season ticket purchases say much more than a coffee cup.
“I started going in ’48, and I bought season tickets since ’49,” Bailey said.
And the 95-year-old has had only two different seats over the years.
“The older I got the higher I got,” Bailey said with a laugh.
He explained why he been so faithful in attending the games.
“I love sports. I always loved sports,” Bailey stated.
Bailey said he’s thrilled to have been around for the big state win last season although there was a downside to the team’s victory.
“I was sick. I wasn’t able to go,” he said.
He has the ticket though, stashed in front of one of his pictures of himself with Lobos Coach John King.
“I may not be able to stay in there long enough to now at my age to make another one, but I’m going to try with Coach King,” Bailey said.
Ralph is a big fan of King, too.
“He’s my favorite coach,” Bailey said with a smile.
He doesn’t just attend the regular season games.
“Some of the years in the past, I didn’t miss a practice game,” Bailey revealed.
He said he used to count the players to make sure they were all there, and back then he didn’t just go to home games. He’d travel to …
“Killeen or, you name it; Houston, everywhere else,” Bailey said with a laugh.
Even so, he’s always feeling a certain emotion.
“Nervous as I can be, but I finally settle down,” Bailey admitted.
His wife was at the games with him until she passed away two years ago.
Oddly enough, Ralph wasn’t a Lobo. He graduated from Gary High School in Panola County, making him a Bobcat.
“Don’t you think the Bobcats are mad at you for liking a wolf?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said with a laugh.
To rub a little salt in that wound, I helped him out with a Lobo howl.
“Woooooo,” we howled together.
“That was scary,” I said.
“Yeah in a way I guess it is,” he agreed.
During a game last season, Ralph Bailey was recognized mid-field during the halftime of a Lobo game and presented with a Lobo helmet. He says he can’t wait for the season to get underway.