More than football, Homecoming is about family for one Raider senior

Bring on Anson. The 5-0 Raiders host the 1-4 Bearcats tonight at Raider Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. 

Related coverage
* Sept. 23: Pep rally, parade highlight Homecoming
* Sept. 26: Changes in store for Homecoming 2015
* Photo gallery – more than 1,500 photos from Friday’s parade

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Bailey Preslar might have been looking forward to Homecoming 2014 more than anyone else.

More than a football tradition, for Bailey and her mother, Angela Butler, Friday was about family. Twenty-five years ago, Butler, Richmond Senior High School Class of 1989 was a member of the Raiders Homecoming Court and was escorted in the parade in a 1965 Corvette owned and driven by her brother-in-law, Dwayne Wright.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Lt. Col Jon King, senior Army instructor for the Richmond Senior High School JROTC unit, helps form Cadet Capt. Ethan York's beret before the start of the annual Homecoming Parade.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Lt. Col Jon King, senior Army instructor for the Richmond Senior High School JROTC unit, helps form Cadet Capt. Ethan York’s beret before the start of the annual Homecoming Parade.

On Friday, Bailey was helped up as she stepped up to the back of the same cherry red convertible for the 2014 Homecoming Parade. She was about to be escorted by John Pittman.

The family link, Bailey said, “is really cool.”

The car isn’t too bad, either. Wright, who received it as a gift while a Raider sophomore, said he’s done most of the restoration and repair work himself over the years.

“Isn’t that a cool car,” Butler asked, rhetorically, as Wright pulled up. When Butler first thought about it, she said she wasn’t sure if the car was still operable. But all it had to do was go 0.25 miles in 38 minutes.

As Wright affixed Bailey’s cardboard sign on the side of the car with clear tape, Butler let a soft gasp. The car appeared to be in mint condition save for what the tape might do to the paint job.

Don’t worry, Wright said. It’s only tape. At worst, he said, he’ll need to buff out the paint a bit.

Rather than conform to society and choose to separate her teen self from her mother, Butler said Bailey chose to keep the tradition alive. Wright said that with any luck, “maybe we’ll all live long enough to do it again.”

Of course, before Bailey has a family, she wants to attend either University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or East Carolina University to become a physical therapist.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Richmond Senior High School teacher Nikki Wells, who was voted early Friday as staff Spirit Award winner, rides in the back of a National Guard humvee and rallies the crowd.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Richmond Senior High School teacher Nikki Wells, who was voted early Friday as staff Spirit Award winner, rides in the back of a National Guard humvee and rallies the crowd.

While Bailey and her family worked to get the Corvette just right, Army Lt. Col. Jon King was helping Cadet Capt. Ethan York form his beret just right. York was one of nearly 120 members of the Richmond Senior High School JROTC unit. While the crowd — generally gauged as much larger than in 2013 — paid more attention to the cadences than uniform imperfections, years in the service has taught King that it’s all in the details.

He was passing along that lesson to the next generation as he helped form York’s beret.

It was the beginning steps of a grand parade, led by Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly with selected local youth in the backseat of his patrol car. Close behind was a North Carolina Highway Patrol cruiser, followed by the JROTC unit and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Honor Guard.

Cheerleaders from Hamlet, Rockingham and Rohanen middle schools participated in the parade, the route which stretched a quarter-mile long from First United Methodist Church to Harrington Square. A large crowd of spectators filled both sides of East Washington Street. Depending on the age, mostly, many spectators eagerly awaited someone — anyone — throwing candy. In other cases, little boys and girls were completely satisfied when a wave or friendly smile of one of the 35 members of the Homecoming Court and their sponsors.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Children await the next float, with hopes of candy, a wave or a friendly smile from one of the 35 Homecoming Court princesses.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Children await the next float, with hopes of candy, a wave or a friendly smile from one of the 35 Homecoming Court princesses.

Jeff Dieffenbach, of Dieffenbach GM Superstore, served as grand marshal. Public safety agencies in the lineup included trucks from Rockingham Fire Department, Northside Volunteer Fire Department and Richmond County Rescue Squad, among others.

Additional units included the RSHS Beta Club, the Raiders Marching Band, Raiders Color Guard, West Rockingham Elementary School, the RSHS Afro-American History Club, Health Occupations Students of America, RSHS HOSA, RSHS Kings of the Gridiron and Cate Kinsey, Little Miss Richmond County. This is not, of course, an all-inclusive list.

For Bailey and her mother, the day served as a reminder of something old. For Sarah Meacham, the day offered a brand new experience.

As the float that held Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy cheerleaders, the 7-year-old student at Mineral Springs Elementary School in Ellerbe figured she would try her hand at becoming a photographer. Turns out she just might have the knack for it.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Sarah Meacham | PeeDeePost.com Cheerleaders from the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy head towards Harrington Square during the 2014 Homecoming Parade in downtown Rockingham.

Sarah Meacham | PeeDeePost.com
Cheerleaders from the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy head towards Harrington Square during the 2014 Homecoming Parade in downtown Rockingham.

 

 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Hamlet Middle School cheerleaders want to overwhelm Anson with peace and love. So long as the Raiders win, we're okay with the approach the works.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Hamlet Middle School cheerleaders want to overwhelm Anson with peace and love. So long as the Raiders win, we’re okay with the approach the works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Cate Kinsey, Little Miss Richmond County

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Cate Kinsey, Little Miss Richmond County

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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  • Amy Guinn

    Kevin, where’s the picture of the 1965 cherry red Corvette???

  • kim

    Could u send me the pic of Emily Roberts?

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