SCOTT CITY — Tyler Yeadon arrived at his prom date Callan Rice’s home just as Wichita State University was about to lose its Final Four match in Atlanta.
He faced a conundrum. Change into his tux or watch the final minutes?
He opted to get changed.
After he walked out of the bathroom in his black tux, he looked at the TV and panicked a bit for the Shockers.
“Only 45 seconds?” he asked Callan’s parents, Steve and Tammy Rice, who live just down the street from Shocker guard Ron Baker’s family.
The Shockers’ 72-68 loss didn’t seem to dampen the spirits at the Scott Community High School prom, held in the gym where Baker played before his college career.
The timing of the game presented a challenge for students who wanted to watch but also get ready for the dance.
Callan Rice, 18, and her friend Ellie Irwin, 16, started prom day in Garden City, where they got French manicures and polish on their toes.
“It took two hours,” Ellie said.
Then they headed for a salon for updos, accented by sparkly bobby pins and hair clips.
Back home, they watched the game with Callan’s parents and her maternal grandmother, Dora Mae Bowman.
“If they win, it’s going to be exciting,” said Callan, who is a senior.
Ellie, a junior, thought a win would give the dance an “extra oomph” of spirit.
The windows of the high school were decorated with black and yellow messages of support for Baker and his team.
“Ron Baker Our Home Town Celebrity,” a sign at the Scott County Health Department read, pom poms attached.
The theme of the prom was “A Little Bit Country,” and the gym was transformed with hay bales and twinkly lights.
Callan, Ellie, Tyler and the rest of their group – Dalton Buehler, Kiersten Scott, Wyle Yeager, Krissa Dearden and Devyn Eggleston – arrived at prom in a fire truck. Ellie’s grandfather is the assistant fire chief.
“I know some people,” she joked during the game.
In Scott City, how you arrive at prom is almost as important as who you go with, the students say.
Another group of students arrived in a party bus with Patriot Guard emblems.
Senior English teacher Steve Kucharik, wearing a Shockers ball cap, announced each student as they arrived.
Parents and other Scott City residents lined the street outside the high school waiting for promgoers to arrive and walk down the red carpet. Most wore Shockers T-shirts.
Before the dance, the Rices talked about Baker, remembering the perm he got his senior year, just like his father and grandfather before him.
“Fear the perm” was one of the team’s chants. People would even bring blond curly wigs to games.
Steve Rice was glad the Shockers played first Saturday night.
“If it’d been the second game, it’d be a little ugly” because of prom, he said.
Steve Rice cheered on Baker during the game, urging an official to “call a foul, hurtin’ my guy there,” when Baker fell down on the court.
Pre-prom stress was high at the Rice household – but it wasn’t because of the prom.
Callan seemed bummed when the Shockers lost, but the prom had to go on.
She didn’t think the loss would keep anyone home from the dance.
“Nah, they’ll just be cranky,” she said.