The Royals Radio Network is comprised of over eighty affiliates and stretches across seven states. In this recurring series (previous features listed below at the bottom of the page) Royals Review attempts to give each affiliate its proper airing, celebrating the regional reach and heritage of Royals baseball.
Monett, Missouri [990 KRMO-AM]
Miles from Kansas City: 184
Located 184 miles to the south of Kansas City lies Monett, Missouri. Monett (mow-net locally) straddles the line dividing Barry and Lawrence counties in far-southern Missouri. Most of Monett is in Barry, the more southern of the counties, where the city is also the largest in the county. Monett is sometimes described as an "Ozark Town" and in the most general sense, it is. However, the town itself is north of any real ridges, hills, or mountains, and looks like it could be anywhere else in Missouri. Large tracts of the Mark Twain National Forest lie not far from town however. Beyond these natural proximities, Monett is just a Miguel Olivo passed ball from either Joplin to the west or Springfield to the east.
As discussed before on this site, despite being much more of a local team, the Royals tend to play second fiddle to the Cardinals in the greater Joplin-Springfield region. However, the Royals do seem to be making a concerted effort to raise their profile in northwestern Arkansas, so perhaps some of that powder blue pride will seep back into southern Missouri. It isn't 1960 anymore and there remains no real reason for the Cardinals to so thoroughly dominate the I-44 corridor the way that they do. What we can do to help is to start making pamphlets describing Willie Bloomquist, pool our resources, and coordinate propaganda air drops in the region.
Late into the 19th century Monett was known as both Plymouth and Gonten, though as far as I can tell, the name Monett stuck when the railroad came through the town in 1887, and it isn't too much of an assumption to guess that the railroad also played a large role in renaming the town.
If Monett is known for anything nationally, it is perhaps the wave of lynchings that took place around the town around the turn of the century. After an 1894 lynching in Monett, the town effectively banished all African Americans from the community, joining the legions of Sundown Towns around the Midwest. Seven years after the pogrom, according to local Monett writer and editor of The Monett Times, Murray Bishoff, the nearby town of Pierce City, attempted to match Monett, leading to the death of three men. Bishoff's work on the entire episode led to a documentary, Banished. For more on the episode, click here.
In the early years of the twentieth century Monett had a thriving semi-professional baseball scene, and this site has a number of photos of old baseball teams from Monett. Unfortunately, the paragraph above saps some of my enjoyment from looking at these pictures.
One of the largest employers in Monett is Tyson Chicken. If you haven't ever wondered what working in a chicken processing plant might be like, well consider yourself lucky. If a large part of your day is spent putting on a space suit designed to keep flying chicken parts from splattering on you, it is probably not a great job. I know, I know, it's counter-intuitive to think that a process that begins with thousands of live animals at one end of a conveyor belt and ends with little plastic packages on the other might be a pretty terrible thing to witness or oversee, but apparently it is. Or rather, some will have you believe that it is.
Monett just keeps getting better and better!
And there's also, rounding back to the beginning of our timeline, the fact that Monett lies near the infamous "Trail of Tears" route. Couldn't forget to mention that fact either, could we?
Still, the past is past, and it wouldn't be right to isolate Monett as either the birthplace or the sole instance of past racism or the only place in the country with a chicken plant. Heck, the place is home to Royals baseball isn't it? Yea... it is, thanks to 990 KRMO-AM, though sadly the town is also home to a Cardinals affiliate, KKBL 95.9 over on the FM dial.
While listening to the Royals, you can dine at a variety of fast-food options on Highway 60 outside of town, including Taco Bell, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and KFC. For a more elevated experience, I suggest the downtown location of the Dairy Queen. The coolest eatery in town may be Black Bob's on Broadway, though I couldn't find anything about it online.
Another bit of positive news comes in the form of Monett High School, recently named one of the best schools in the area by a local magazine. Cub Pride never dies. Similarly, just last week a local fifth grader won some kind of statewide writing award. Moreover, there's the aforementioned proximity to the Mark Twain National forest, two golf courses near town, and better odds of seeing Bigfoot than you might find in KC. Both Barry and Lawrence counties have produced Bigfoot sightings, the most recent coming in the fall of 2004, near Purdy:
On November 18, 2004 at approximately 6:45 pm, I was traveling south on a winding, dirt road less than 5 miles from my home on C Hwy between McDowell and East Purdy, Mo.
As I drove along, I noticed ahead in the ditch line, an animal. I know that there is a mule that often gets out nad [sic] roams the area, so I slowed down considerably so as not to hit her.
As I got closer, it stood up, facing my Explorer. Instead of moving into the headlight beam as a deer or something would do, it came at an angle from the ditch, towards the passenger side of my truck. It was in my estimate, at least as tall as I am (5'8") covered with hair. The hair was a buff or light color.
All I really remember at that point is hitting the lock button on my doors and screaming. It came up to the passenger side window and I could see it's chest. If I saw the face, I do not recall it, just the chest in the window. I was screaming and hit the accelorator and sped away as fast as I could. I don't know what it was, only that I have never seen anything like it before in my life.
Maybe he just saw a Cardinals fan.
* Fittingly, perhaps, unlike in earlier profiles, I could not find a local group of diehard Royals fans in Monett who I can with certainty say "listen to the Royals constantly" on 990 KRMO-AM.
Previous Affiliate Profiles:
Storm Lake, Iowa
Garden City, Kansas
Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Nebraska City, Nebraska
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
St. Joseph, Missouri