Category Archives: Sports

Last Game in 1962 Gymnasium: February 7, 2012

An era came to an end in Bradley last week.  Assuming that the construction of the new gym is completed as planned, the evening of Tuesday, February 7, 2012, saw the last regularly scheduled home game in the 1962 gymnasium, with the Bradley Senior Boys defeating the Horatio Senior Boys.

The first game in the 1962 gym was played in the fall of that year, with the Bright Star Junior Boys defeating the Bradley Junior Boys, 26–22.

Below are some photos taken during and immediately after the final home game last week.









For the benefit of those who may not be close enough to Bradley to see the progress on the new gym, here are two photos which may give some perspective on that progress.

The first photo was taken on June 12, 2011:


And the photo below, taken on January 29, 2012, from approximately the same angle, shows the completed slab of the building:


Bradley Senior Girls Basketball, 1955

Finally, it’s basketball season again.  As has been mentioned on before, some of the most popular articles and photos on this site are sports-related.

In 1955, the Bradley Senior Girls Basketball team went to Nashville to compete in the District Tournament.  While gathered for a meal, they posed for the photo below.

Sr Girls at Nashville 1955 002, 300 pixels

The back of the photo lists those shown as follows:

1st row, left to right:  Shirley Raye Crabtree, Rebecca Bland, Marie (Sissy) Gore, Virginia Spence, Pauline Short, Laura Jane Cochran (chaperone).

2nd row, left to right:  Barbara Wagnon, Magnolia Sparks, LaRita Burks, Joan Stevens, Bonnie Sue Fish, Nancy McGee, Joe Langdon (Coach).

Not shown:  Barbara Ann Dalrymple.

Does anyone know how this team fared in their District Tournament?

Making Plans for Summer Baseball, 1957

Today is the day in which most major league baseball teams open their regular seasons, so let’s take a look at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the organization which sponsored the Bradley Little League, Pony League,  Babe Ruth, and American Legion baseball teams in 1957.

The following article is reprinted from the Lafayette County Democrat, with permission.

– – – – –


The Board of Directors met on Monday, February 11, 1957 at one p. m. at Hamner Implement Company for the purpose of preparing for the coming baseball season, which will include the Little League, Pony League, Babe Ruth and American Legion ball clubs.

The appointed officers and their duties are as follows:  Commissioner, Ralph Hamner; President H. M. Burks; V. Pres, Odell Clary; Sec-Treas., John Coker; Umpire Controller J. W. Camp.

Plate Umpires: Gerald Walding, Marvin McCalman, Billy Barker.

Base Umpires: Herbert Collier, Madison Drake, Jack Jones, Harry Bussey.

Transportation Officers:  Odell Clary, Herman Barnett.

Bus Drivers:  Herbert Collier, Clyde Jackson.

Entertainment:  Thomas Williams, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp.

Police and Traffic:  Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, L. G. Middlebrooks, Hulon Mitchell, Madison Drake, James Wilson, Carl Baker.

Food Concessions:  Mrs. John Coker, Mrs. Ralph Hamner, Mrs. L. G. Middlebrooks, Mrs. Lewis Whisenhunt, Mrs. Herman Barnett, Mrs. Thomas Williams.

Drinks:  Ralph Hamner, Hulon Mitchell, Ralph Hamner, Jr., Buck Williams, Merle Gore.

Repairs:  Odell Clary, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Madison Drake, Marvin McCalman, Clyde Jackson, John Coker.

Grounds:  Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp, Billy Barker.

School Property:  H. M. Burks, E. V. Powell, Entire Ground Crew.

Board of Directors:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Horace Burks, John Coker, E. V. Powell, Madison Drake, J. W. Camp, Odell Clary, Harry Bussey, Carl Baker, Lewis Whisenhunt, Hulon Mitchell, Billy Barker, Gerald Walding, Herbert Collier.

At this meeting it was also decided to improve the playing field by leveling the grounds, installing more lights, repairing the bleachers, concession stand, fences, and the property South of the ball field, when leveled and drained will provide a new entrance to the field.  A heavy wire fence will be built along both base lines to protect the spectators.

The Ground Committee voted to bring the following implements to work the grounds.  Plows:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, and Jack Jones; Land Levelers:  Ralph Hamner and Glendon Barnett; Disk Harrows:  Ralph Hamner, Lewis Whisenhunt, Horace Burks and Pat Coker.

All Board Members agreed to wear ball caps as to Mr. Hamner’s suggestion.

During 1956 a total of 66 boys participated in the program.  In 1957 a total of 100 is expected to participate.

Respectfully Submitted, John R. Coker, Secretary-Treasurer; Merle Gore, Reporter.”

Update on 2008-09 Bradley Senior Boys

Sadly, the Bradley Senior Boys basketball team’s season and quest for a state championship came to a premature end last Thursday night.  In the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Westside-Greer’s Ferry, they lost to Guy-Perkins, 65–62.

While Coach Bennie Ray Harris would be the last person to make excuses, the simple fact of the matter is that the Bears were not as dominating after an injury suffered by a key player in the conference tournament.  Nevertheless, they had an excellent season with a final record of 34 consecutive wins before the one loss. 

Congratulations to these Senior Boys and to Coach Harris for all their hard work and for their fine season!

Bradley’s First State Basketball Champions, 1962

As mentioned in the previous post, Bradley has had six senior girls basketball teams win the state championship.  The very first of those was the senior girls of 1962, pictured below in the old gymnasium.  Incidentally, 1961–1962 was the last basketball season for the old gymnasium.

1962 Bradley Yearbook 048-1 B

From left to right:  Earlene Williamson, Patsy Collier, Linda Lamar, Ginger Hamner, Loretta Thompson, Eddie Adkins, Patsy Morgan, Mary Alice Milloway, Marlene Umphries, Pat Givens, and Coach Leo Johnson.  Diane Higdon does not appear in this photo.

In those days, the Lafayette County Tournament was still an annual event, and Bradley defeated Lewisville, 54–35, in the finals of that tournament.  In what was then called the Regional Tournament, held at Genoa Central, Bradley defeated Lewisville, 28–25, and Bright Star, 60–46.  They won the District 7–West Tournament by first defeating Kirby, then defeating Saratoga, 43–27, and Mineral Springs, 59–45.

The Senior Girls won the State Tournament, held in Parkin, by defeating the host Parkin team, 47–38, in the finals.  Diane Higdon Fletcher remembers that the semifinal game was difficult and close, although she is not certain who the opponent was.

Shown below are the State Tournament All-Tournament team, on the court at Parkin after the final game. The four Bradley players selected, Ginger Hamner, Marlene Umphries, Diane Higdon and Linda Lamar are in uniform just to the right of the center of the picture.  The players in uniform on the left side of the picture, one of whom is quite tall, are from Parkin.

1962 Bradley Yearbook 130-1 A

Shown below are some of the members of the team after they arrived home, with the state championship trophy.  The car has obviously been labeled with the word “champs.”

1962 Bradley Yearbook 129-1

According to the 1962 Bradley High School Yearbook, players selected for recognition were:

All-Regional:  Marlene Umphries, Eddie Adkins.

All-District:  Ginger Hamner, Diane Higdon.

All-State:  Marlene Umphries, Ginger Hamner, Diane Higdon, Linda Lamar.

Finally, below is a photo of forward Ginger Hamner working the edge of the free-throw lane in a game in the old gym.  In this age of digital photography, that old gym would have been an amateur photographer’s dream for taking basketball action shots!

1962 Bradley Yearbook 131-1 A

UPDATE 2/25/09:  The above photo was taken by James Drake for the 1962 school yearbook.  He writes:  “This photo was first published in the 1962 Bear Yearbook.  The photo was made with a Rolicord camera with flash while standing on the stage during the 1962 championship season.  Notice the basketball.  That was pure luck and that was why it was chosen for the yearbook.”  Maybe it was luck, James, but that’s an excellent photo!

Basketball Notes, Past and Present

February is high school basketball tournament time, so a look at Bradley’s impact on the Arkansas Activities Association’s record book is perhaps in order.

Most of that impact, of course, occurred on the girls side of the record book.  The Bradley Senior Boys won their only state championship in 1994, but hopefully will add another in the very near future (see below).

The Bradley Senior Girls share the record for the most girls state championships, six, with Guy-Perkins.  Those occurred in 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 2000.  Arkansas girls basketball changed from the six-girl, three-on-three format to the five-girl, full-court format after the 1979 season, so all but one of those championships was in the six-girl format.  The 1962, 1966, 1967 and 1968 championships were under the direction of Coach Leo Johnson.  The 1969 championship was under the direction of Coach Jim Reppo.  The 2000 championship in the five-girl, full-court format was under the direction of current Bradley Coach Bennie Ray Harris.

Bradley also shares the record for the most consecutive girls state championships (4, in 1966–1969), with four other schools.  Those are Stephens (1975–1978), Van Buren (1953–56), Marked Tree (dates not listed in the AAA record book), and Fort Smith Northside (1999–2002).  None of those schools won girls state championships in 2008, so Bradley will continue to share this record for at least four more years.

The record for most points scored in a girls state tournament game is held by Camden Fairview, with 94 points in 2007.  However, Bradley is fifth on the list, with 89 points in a state tournament game in 1967.  (The opponent is not listed in the AAA record book, so perhaps a reader can furnish that information.)  The state tournament was actually held in Bradley that year.

One of the more interesting statistics in the AAA record book is the lowest combined score in a girls state tournament game is 40 points, from Bradley defeating Plumerville, 24–16, in 1968.

The most points scored by an individual player in a girls state tournament game is 55, held by Brenda Rhodes of Wilmar in 1984.  However, the next highest total is 45, by Bradley’s Carone Harris in 2000, a total which was equaled by two other players in 2008.

– – – – –

Earlier, mention was made of the state championship hopes of the Bradley Senior Boys this year.  This past Tuesday, they defeated Taylor, 73–21, to run their record to a perfect 28 wins and 0 losses for the year.  Their closest game so far this year came in the finals of the 78th Southwest Arkansas Invitational in Saratoga, where they defeated Stephens, 67–65.  Stephens is a class AA school, one classification higher than Bradley, and had recently been ranked number one in the state in that classification.  So, best of luck to the 2009 Bears!

Still More on 1930s Bradley High School Football

Some of the most visited posts on this site continue to be those regarding the early 1930s Bradley High School football team (posts dated 10/1/08 and 10/6/08).

I recently came across a more-or-less first hand account of a 1932 football game.  It is part of a letter that Frank M. Cochran, Jr., then 11 years old, wrote to a cousin on November 3, 1932.  Bradley was scheduled to play Stamps in Bradley the next day, and had played Hope in Bradley the previous week (October 28, 1932).  The excerpt from the letter reads:

“Stamps plays ball here tomorrow.  They are going to bring a band and a lot of people.  Bradley has a good team.  They held Hope to a 12–6 defeat for Bradley.  It was Bradley’s ball on the 50, 4th [down] and about 8 [yards to go for a first down].  Thomas Williams punted to Hope’s 2 yard line.  They tried to throw the ball.  It was third [down] and about 5 [yards to go for a first down].  They punted to Pat Coker on Hope’s 30.  He got the ball and ran for a touchdown.  Bruz [Hamner] tried for point but failed and got knocked out.  Sims went in.”

– – –

For a point of historical reference, it can be noted that on the following Tuesday, November 8, 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover in the election for President of the United States.

Senior Girls Basketball, 1956

The following article appeared in the February 23, 1956, edition of the Lafayette County Democrat.  It is reprinted here with permission.  It was apparently written by Briner Thomas, publisher of that newspaper.


The District 7B Basketball Tournament ended here [Stamps] Saturday night with Bradley winning over some very tough competition and placing two on the All-District team.

The games started Monday with Stamps winning over Springhill 42 to 26; Bodcaw over Genoa Central 33 to 29; Gilham over Kirby 60 to 36; Mineral Springs over Kirby [?] 40 to 32; Delight over Fouke 47 to 36; Bradley over Umpire 41 to 30 and Lewisville over Murfreesboro 52 to 33.

On Tuesday, Lewisville won over Guernsey 60 to 48; Delight walked over Laneburg 50 to 23; Mineral Springs took Gilham easily 61 to 27; Dierks over Horatio 52 to 31 and Foreman nosed out Okolona 50 to 45; with Emmett trouncing Garland 69 to 38 and Bodcaw taking Willisville 44 to 34.

Wednesday results were Emmett over Dierks 49 to 45; Delight over Blevins 45 to 37; Mineral springs over Bodcaw 54 to 31 and Bradley getting by Lewisville 39 to 31.

Friday’s results gave Bradley another win, this over a tough Mineral Springs team 51 to 38 and Emmett over Delight 45 to 43.

Saturday night, the gym was just not big enough to hold the crowd and spectators lined the walls and aisles to see a game that was full of thrills right up to the last minute, with Bradley wearing down Emmett in the final minutes and winning 60 to 52.

The best sports awards went to Ann Draper, Garrett Wells, Pat Parker, Rebecca Overmire, Sylvia Riley and Carolyn Cox.

081215 Senior Girls Basketball, 1956, 300 pixels

The All District team selected by the coaches and officials were, reading left to right in the above picture, Sheffield of Lewisville, McClendon of Lewisville; Terry of Mineral Springs, [Sissie] Gore of Bradley, [Bonnie] Fish of Bradley, Hill of Emmett, Cox of Emmett and Patsy Blankenship of Stamps.

No one asked my opinion, but I picked three first places that anyone who saw the games will agree on and that is the prettiest girl on the teams was Pat Parker of Lewisville, the best forward was Nancy McGee of Bradley and the best guard was a No. 12 of Bradley and we never did learn her name.”

– – –

Does anyone know who “No. 12 of Bradley” was?

Demise of 1930s Bradley High School Football

This past weekend, I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bishop in their home.  I asked Mrs. Margie about the story I had heard of the accident that ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.  She confirmed the story and was able to provide enough details that I was able to pinpoint the precise date of the accident.

She remembered that the “bus” carrying the football team was side-swiped on “old” Highway 29 coming back from a game.  The “bus” in those days was nothing that resembles today’s school bus.  It was basically a large truck, with the rear passenger compartment framed with lumber and the windows covered only in poultry wire.  George Baker was driving the bus, and apparently he was not at fault in the accident.  “Old” Highway 29 refers to the road that now runs by the Arkansas Division of Youth Services Wilderness Camp.  It was Highway 29 prior to the 1954 paving and straightening of that highway.

Mrs. Margie was able to give an approximate year for the accident by remembering what grade she was in when it occurred.  She also remembered that the two boys most seriously injured were Basil Henderson and Ernest Jewell Hamiter.

The diaries of Della Cochran contain the following entries:

Friday, October 13, 1933:  “…Our football boys played Stamps at night.    
S[tamps] 21, B[radley] 0.  Last game for year for Bradley.”

Saturday, October 14, 1933:  “At midnight called F[rank Cochran, Sr., who was in Shreveport that night] to tell about truck wrecking our school bus.  Basil H. and E. J. Hamiter hurt worst.  Others cut and bruised….”

And thus ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.

Bradley High School Football, 1930s

Bradley indeed had a football team in the 1930s, but I don’t know the precise year that the football program of that era began, or the precise year that it ended.

Below is a photo of one of those Bradley football teams, probably in the early 1930s.  The tall young man in the back row, second from left, with his left hand on his hip is Ralph C. “Bruz” Hamner.  If any reader is able to identify any of the rest of these formidable gridiron gladiators, it would be much appreciated.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (5) A

Shown below is an announcement of a game against Lewisville.  A date and time for the game are given, but the year is unknown.  While this may appear to be a handbill which would be posted on a utility pole, or something similar, it is actually a small card about twice the size of today’s business cards.

Saturday, January 31, 2004 (73) A

It says:


Bradley Hi


Lewisville Hi

Wednesday, Nov. 23

Bradley Athletic Field

Come out and see the Bears drub the Red Devils in the last big game of the season.  Watch those Bears pull those Red Devil tails.

Admission 10 and 25c.  Time 3 P. M.”

– – –

The diaries of Della Cochran make mention of four home games in 1931 and 1932. On September 25, 1931, Bradley defeated Waskom, Texas, 27–0.  On October 2, 1931, Bradley defeated St. John’s, 19–0.  Who “St. John’s” was is a mystery. From the two 1931 scores, it appears that team defense was quite good that year.

On October 28, 1932, Hope defeated Bradley, 12–6.   On November 4, 1932, Stamps defeated Bradley, 26–0, and the Stamps High School Band made an appearance.  From the two 1932 scores, it appears that offense was a problem for Bradley that year.

As for the eventual fate of the 1930s-era football program, I’ve heard tales of a bus or auto accident which injured some of the players on the way back home from an away game, causing the cancellation of the remainder of the season.  I don’t know what year that happened, but apparently the program was not resumed in the following year.