As part of an ongoing series celebrating the Royals Radio network, we highlight 1240 KIUL-AM in Garden City, Kansas. KIUL-AM is our second Kansas affiliate to be profiled, as WIBW-AM was gloriously celebrated this summer.
Previous Affiliate Profiles:
Storm Lake, Iowa
Located 376 miles west of Kansas City lies Garden City, Kansas, the county seat of Finney County. Garden City is actually closer to Denver than it is to Kansas City, which may mean that there are Rockies and Broncos fans out there. Two Junes ago, when the Royals played the Rockies, I speculated on the loyalties of Western Kansas. Since about 10 people were reading the site back then, I never really got an answer. What I do know is that 50 miles to the north of GC in Goodland Kansas, the Rockies have invaded Kansas with a Rockies Radio Affiliate. Although I've never been, I've always been kinda fascinated by Garden City. I can remember looking at a map and thinking, "that place is in the middle of nowhere, I bet its nice there". We'll, lets find out.
In 2000 28,451 people called Garden City home, but according to the US Census Bureau, the current number is closer to 27,216, a drop of 4.4%. I've always been fascinated by cities this size, those big small towns if you will. Out in Garden City most people have about a 14 minute drive to work in the morning, although with 14% of the population below the poverty line, the benefits of such close proximity aren't going too far. 22.8% of the population is (was?) foreign born, and despite the general dearth of Hispanics in Kansas (7% statewide), in Garden City 43.9% of the population is Hispanic. (For more GC data, click here.)
The news source for GC is the The Garden City Telegram (motto: People Informing People). My favorite section to read in the Telegram is the Southwest Life (Southwest Kansas?) section, which allows me to keep abreast of the latest weddings and dyings. On the eleventh an interesting feature appeared in Southwest Life, entitled "One of the Good Guys". A very strange read. Just flipping through the engagement/wedding announcements, it seems clear that the men of Garden City and those outside men who steal away Garden City women are solidly fond of facial hair. Don't they know this means they could never play for the Yankees?
The news in the Sports section this week was dominated by K-State's big win over evil Texas in the Little Apple. Presumably the big "Royals Bring Back Hernandez" story will feature as front page, top of the fold news, although if Bako also resigns, all bets are off.
Sleeves Optional at GCCC
Of course the real dominant force in the Garden City sports scene is the daily goings on of Garden City Community College. Founded in 1919 GCCC is home to ... is home to... well, I don't know. The website isn't forthcoming with this information to an extent I would like them be.
Still, Garden City CC is perhaps best known for its powerhouse sports teams, named in true western spirit the Broncbusters. I guess a population with 100% male facial hair would be Broncbusters, no? Basically the Broncbusters play in the championship game of the Jayhawk Conference every season, as their website boasts: "GCCC has appeared in the Championship Game 12 of the last 14 years-a feat unmatched in the Jayhawk Conference". The most famous Broncbuster right now might be Corey Dillon, who's currently in his 40th NFL season. Dillon did a stint at GCCC before heading west to Washington.
The Members of the 2005-6 GCCC Dance Team Listened to the Royals Constantly on KIUL-AM.
Garden City is home to the surprisingly large Lee Richardson Zoo, which like GCCC opened in 1919. In 1973 a polar bear at GCCC attacked at zookeeper after a door was left unlocked. The bear was "destroyed" to save the zookeeper's life. If this story doesn't scare you, you might consider contacting the zoo, as they're looking for a new zookeeper as we speak. The current "Wild Asia" exhibit sounds awesome: red pandas, snow leopards, camels, Malayan sun bears, and something called a "gaur". (After a double-check on the website) Apparently a gaur is a big ox-like thing. All in all, it sounds like a wonderful place to take young honey from GCCC on an afternoon date, but you better bring money for ice-cream! And remember to have a goatee.
You can also play a little golf out in GC, at the Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. I would assume wind is a factor. Green fees are $25.00 on weekends. There's a different kind of Buffalo Range just outside the town. Whats a Buffalo? Didn't we kill all `em? You mean we didn't? Just another liberal inability to finish the job I guess.
Every year at the end of May Garden City honors its ranching heritage with the Beef Empire Days, with a parade, rodeo, competitions, and the like. My favorite event is the Carcass competition, which is what it sounds like:
-77 Feed Yard
Heifer #533 owned by Schurrtop Angus and Charolais
The overall Carcass Award sponsored by Cargill Meat Solutions will be awarded to either the Carcass Show champion steer or heifer. Determination of this award is made by the Carcass show judge. The award goes to the animal, steer or heifer, exhibiting the best overall carcass characteristics. The Beef Empire index will be taken into account, but the award does not necessarily go to the animal with the highest index. The Grand Champion steer and heifer from the Carcass Show are only competing against each other for this award.
Congrats to Heifer #533. I always knew you'd make a great carcass.
Regarding baseball, beyond the annual exploits of the Broncbusters on the diamond, Garden City is the noted home of former Cub Gene Krug. Krug was born in Garden City in 1955, attended the University of Oklahoma and was drafted by the Mets in 1974. In late April-early May Krug played in 7 games for the 1981 Cubs, appearing as a pinch-hitter in 5 of those games. Krug went 2-5 with a walk, which gave him a .400/.500/.400 line. That would be his career line as well. He never played in a Major League game again. Seven games, five at bats. Thats all Gene Krug got. There are more Gene Krug's out there than you might expect, including an attorney in Wisconsin. Is that ole Gene from 1981? I don't know.
KIUL-AM is part of the Western Kansas Broadcast Network and is currently carrying ESPN Radio according to the site. Other stations in Garden City carry Chiefs and Jayhawks games, but I believe KIUL is primarily Royals. With a growing Hispanic population, it is not surprising that KIUL is owned by the same people who run 105.9 FM La Nueva, GC spanish language radio station.
Have the Royals ceded Garden City to indifference and the Rockies? We can't be sure, what we do know is that last winter Garden City wasn't on the Royals Caravan. We can only hope that this winter that changes. Until then, only anxious nightmares await.