by Larry Patrick
Many of you probably read the front page of the Journal today, were perplexed by the stories, and believed them to be true. Sorry, if some of you got this far into the paper and just now realized you have been duped.
April Fool’s Day is usually harmless. People take pride in catching others off guard for small, silly things, but sometimes you can get people to take the “big plunge.” When I was general manager of KMCX Radio in Ogallala, Nebraska during the 1980’s, I was good at creating the biggest April Fools scams.
One year, the school system in Ogallala was working hard to raise money for a new track, just like we are doing today in Walsenburg. In the morning sports report, I broke the “big” story. The Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders had agreed to play a benefit football game in Ogallala to raise money for the new school track.
During the newscast, I had an interview with the Mayor about negotiations with the Broncos and also the Chamber of Commerce administrator. They were both very convincing. Then during the sports news segment, the athletic director and track coach helped me sell the story. By this time, the phones were buzzing about the “fact.” After all, it was on the radio. Now, a bit of the joke was on me because at the end of the newscast, I said, “April Fool,” but very few people were listening by that time.
When I went to my weekly Optimist Club meeting that day, I could not believe the excitement. The guys had all heard about the Broncos coming and not one had heard my April Fools refrain. Naturally, everyone was trying to pump me for information. I had to sheepishly tell them it was a joke. The looks on those grown men’s faces were pitiful. Fortunately, they all took the matter in stride and some still speak to me even to this day.
As of this writing, I am trying to trick my bosses into believing the stock market is tumbling downward, GM may go into bankruptcy and the Broncos are going to trade Jay Cutler. As you can see, I always go for the ridiculous notions on April Fools Day.