‘Mr. Lobo’ Ralph Bailey honored at Longview game as 73-year season ticket holder
LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - High school football is huge in East Texas, and fan loyalty to teams is often serious business.
One East Texas high school football fan was recognized for proving his loyalty, over the test of time.
At Friday night’s Mckinney North-Longview game, Ralph Bailey took a bow before the home crowd. He has been a season ticket holder for a record 73 years.
“Ooh, I just love the spirit of it, and want to always win. And, they’re going to win most of the time, I guarantee them Lobos is tough,” Ralph said.
“We’re just full of pride. Our daddy is a phenomenal man; he’s just a great role model for us,” said daughter Debbie Goetz.
But, Ralph never attended Longview High School. He went to school in Panola County.
A U.S. Army World War II veteran, when he came home he became a Lobos fan when his boss gave him tickets to a game. “I enjoyed it. I love sports,” he said.
Friday was also Ralph’s 99th birthday.
“Right now we’re greatful for every day we have with him. It’s a gift,” Debbie said.
A true fan, Ralph has supported the Lobos during good times and not so good times.
“He’s been there for the Lobos in good times and bad times. He is the epitome of a true Lobo fan,” said daughter Brenda Johnson.
In a fitting tribute to Bailey, the Lobos scored a touchdown Friday night while he was being recognized.
“Lobos, Lobos. Keep on winning for Ralph and the fans,” Bailey said.
If you do the math, not counting away games that Ralph has attended, at just five homes games a year, Ralph has attended over 360 home games in 72 seasons.
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