Love For The Cougs
Nov. 23, 2012
Story by Jason Krump, WSU Athletics
What is your favorite Cougar football memory?
Ask Washington State Cougars that question and chances are the answer will include the Apple Cup.
That's the case for Larry and Vi Harris, who have plenty of games, and memories, to choose from.
"The Snow Bowl," says Vi, referring to the 1992 Apple Cup. "That was a terrific, terrific game."
"The one that stood out was beating the Huskies in Husky Stadium to go to the Rose Bowl," says Larry of the 1997 Apple Cup, which propelled the Cougars to Pasadena for the first time in 67 years.
Fifteen years after that iconic game, the 2012 Apple Cup marks the culmination of Larry's 45th consecutive season of attending every home Cougar football game, with his wife Vi joining him for the majority of them.
And though they may differ on their favorite game, the couple shares a common love for the Cougars.
Placed just outside their vehicle in the Beasley RV Lot is a Cougar flag that flies as high as any of the flags on the lot.
Inside, their vehicle is a showcase for the Cougar logo as it is proudly presented on stuffed animals, figurines, and blankets, just to name a few.
There is also a display of buttons that date back to the `70s. Included in the collection are buttons from the Copper, Rose and Sun Bowls and others that say "Dam the Beavers," "Pluck the Ducks," and one with a Husky crossed out in crimson. And there are several buttons with "I (heart symbol) Cougs" displayed.
This affection for the Cougars comes from two people who did not attend Washington State.
Larry's connection began in the `40s while delivering Spokane Chronicle newspapers and seeing the Cougar football team on the sports page.
"I've been following the Cougars ever since," says Larry. "I didn't have anybody asking me to be a Cougar fan, I just did it."
Though Vi grew up in Seattle, she is quick to point out she is not a Husky, although all her friends were. Her love of the Cougars began when she married Larry in 1967.
While the love for the Cougars will never end, the consecutive trips to Cougar football home games will conclude for Larry with the 2012 Apple Cup.
Poor eyesight has prevented Larry, 80, to make the drive from his Clayton, Wash., home just north of Spokane to Pullman. Vi took over these duties, but Father Time will not permit her to make the trip anymore, either.
"It's our age now that I have to drive," says Vi, 79. "I just don't trust my reflexes anymore."
Vi did drive Larry for the Dad's Weekend game vs. UCLA but she is not making the trip to the Apple Cup. She has another tradition to continue, shopping with her daughter and granddaughter the day after Thanksgiving.
WSU alumnus Bill Weger, who is neighbors with Larry in the RV lot as well as in Clayton, is driving Larry to the Apple Cup.
"I made a vow at the start of this year to make sure I got him to every game to finish his 80 and 45," says Weger. "Eighty and 45 is such a milestone, it's not a lot of my effort to make sure he completes an effort that's huge.
"It's just something that I needed to do," adds Weger, who has not missed a home game himself in 33 years. "He never thought twice about bringing us down. We were having a good time and he drove us down and back. It was his will to go and see the Cougars that motivated him. He overextended himself way back when to all of us, and it's time for us to return the favor."
And time to create one more great Apple Cup memory.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS