While owners beg for tax monies and teams look to build their own "networks" its nice to remember that on a warm summer night you can find three or four baseball games on the radio. In an ongoing series, Royals Review highlights the once and future regional appeal of the Royals by exploring the Royals Radio Network in detail.
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Ulysses Kansas-1420 KULY AM
Miles from Kansas City: 413
Located an astonishing 413 miles (its 480 if you stick to the big roads) to the west of Kansas City, about fifty miles from the Colorado border, lies Ulysses Kansas, county seat of Grant County. As was the case with fellow affiliate Belle Fourche, South Dakota the early history of Ulysses was dominated by its battle with nearby Appomattox to become the County Seat, with the winner claiming glory, county-wide pride and of course, all the government payola. Thanks to that victory, Ulysses boasts a population of 5,650 while Appomattox claims... Well, I'll let you find that for yourself. Suffice to say, more people own Royals Review shirts than live in wherever Appomattox used to be.
Thanks to the continued existence of that County Seat status, Ulysses is the 50th largest city in Kansas and one of the bigger towns in the trans-Garden City western part of the state. Ulysses is 75% white and 37% Hispanic (yes, see for yourself), with 10% of the population below the poverty line.
Considering Ulysses is the hero of one of the greatest epic poems, an important character in another, an inspiration behind arguably the greatest novel ever as well as a very, very good poem I had high hopes that the humble berg might have an old classicist behind its founding. Sadly, this seems not to be the case. Does GRANT County not give it away?
Still, something of Tennyson's Ulysses lingers in my conception of the place. Or at least in my mythical conception of the Great Plains. In Tennyson's poem Ulysses has returned home after years of adventure, only to discover there's nothing left for him in Ithaca:
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
So instead of the own sad version of playing out the string that awaits us all, he hands the throne to Telemachus and hits the waves again (or at least plans to), asking his old friends to get together for a literal ride off into the sunset.
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Basically, the idea behind Wild Hogs, only with dignity and meaning. While I had hoped that my investigation of Ulysses would find rugged heroes refusing to yield despite a harsh environment, instead my browser repeatedly lead in a different, though equally American direction...
Although Ulysses is 100 miles closer to Denver than it is to Kansas City, 1420 AM keeps it a dedicated Royals hotbed. KULY doesn't have a website, but they play country music, is a part of the Kansas Agriculture Network and the Western Kansas Broadcast Center.
Its been a long winter in Ulysses
Every January Ulysses hosts the Miss Southwestern Kansas Pageant, a part of the larger Miss Kansas competition. The 2007 Miss Southwest Kansas winner is Alexandra Blasi who ran on a platform of Youth Volunteerism with a Talent of Vocal Performance. This is where it gets weird. In 2006 Alexandra appears to have won the 2006 Miss Capitol City contest and eventually finished 1st runner up at the statewide pageant. You can find her dad's myspace reaction to this, as well as multiple pictures of her here. Blasi appears to be a pageant regular, but is she spreading herself to thin? How exactly was she eligible? She beat out two local girls from Ulysses! I promise to keep investigating this however... Congrats to Cassidy Reimer of Ulysses for winning the Swimsuit Competition.
Speaking of stars, the greater Ulysses area also boasts Mindy and Melissa Ramski, two sisters capable of singing and acting. And yes, they're also in the pageant game. Mindy also has a myspace page which is fairly intense. Since she's underage, I won't be linking to it, but it looks safe to say shes well known at Ulysses High. Do people in Southwest Kansas do anything except compete repeatedly in pageants? Just utterly bizarre.
One thing is clear: These young ladies listen to the Royals constantly on 1420 AM.
Girl #2: Whatever. I can't concentrate right now, Denny just mentioned that Meche's pitch count is at 87. And no, you don't have the body to pull that gown off. Maybe if you worked out more than once a week though you could.
No Major League baseball player has ever been born in Ulysses, nor died there. Yet.