So you’re lying in bed, deep in sleep, when a squad of screaming pepsters passes 10 feet from your head with enough perk to take over Starbucks.
“WAKE UP COUGARS!!!!”
If it’s not the Washington State University rally squad, it’s your RV neighbors - Wes and Sue Crosby of Spokane - as they once again hit selection number 90 on their “Ultimate Horn” and sound out a very loud, very electronic Cougar Fight Song.
For the residents of the scores of recreational vehicles that jam into town for home football games, such features pass as lifestyle choices.
“The other time we were here a marching band came through,” said Lynn Thirtyacre of Sun River, Ore.
It happened well after dark.
“But that was fun,” said Thirtyacre’s wife, Sandra.
Anyone can eat and breathe Cougar football on a Saturday afternoon, but no one quite lives Cougar football as completely as the parking lot RV set.
Freed from the crowded commute on all those dirt roads said to lead to Pullman, these fans can concentrate on the fifth-quarter buffet at the field house, Cougar Gold cheese from the nearby Ferdinand’s dairy bar, women’s volleyball on Friday and Saturday, and all manner of other pre- and post-game libations.
They’re big fans, whether or not the team is 6-and-0, as they were Saturday morning, or 7-and-0, as they were after Saturday’s 35-34 squeaker against Arizona.
“We’d come if it was 0-and-7,” said Floyd Richmond, a full-time RVer who builds his fall around home games. “We’re just Cougar fans.”
Some fans are bigger fans than others, to judge from outward appearances.
The Whammer Jammers, a loose-knit crew of cousins and former grade-school classmates, gives out a Cougar Fan of the Year Award, a monstrous trophy engraved with the names of winners going back to 1989.
Verna Deane Westby, a retired Spokane City Hall data processor, got the award last year by coming to a game with casts on both legs.
Another recipient, who will go unnamed for obvious reasons, reportedly received the trophy for dousing an annoying vendor’s barbecue at Martin Stadium without the aid of tools or water. He quit drinking afterward.
For the record, this year’s winner is Bob “Bear” Holmes, 51, of Rainier. The sign on his windshield pleads, “Help! We need 2 Apple Cup tickets.”
About half the RV-piloting fans are Cougar Club members who support WSU athletics by donating anywhere from $100 a year to as much as they want to give. Those who give $250 get one free parking space; those who give $1,000 get two free spaces.
Having an RV lets one show Cougar pride in other ways, too.
“We have themes,” said Barbara Chisholm of Spokane as she and Carolyn McConnell strung lights on the awnings joining their travel trailers. “This one happens to be Halloween and Cougars.”
In the Cochran family’s 27-foot Southwind, there’s a crimson-and-gray pompom on the rear-view mirror, a Cougar clock of carved wood, at least one Cougar pillow and an illuminated Cougar sign stuck to the rear window. Outside, there’s a Cougar windsock, an official Cougar license plate set inside a WSU alumni license plate holder and crimson lawn chairs.
Donna Cochran, who drove over from Wenatchee on Thursday, gladly adds to the list.
“We have Cougar paper plates, a Cougar tablecloth, Cougar placemats, a Cougar garbage can …”
It’s a rags and riches neighborhood.
Frank Niessner, a retired Royal City agribusinessman, captains a custom-made 45-foot Newell coach that came with a six-digit pricetag. It parties 20, as he says, but sleeps only two.
Charles Krause of Ritzville drives a crimson-and-gray 1958 Chevy school bus. It cost $350, motor extra. It drives great as long as you don’t cross the mountains and are willing to stop, say, in Dusty to get an alternator welded back on, which he did Saturday.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo; Graphic: WSU 35, Arizona 34