What was expected to be a quick four-hour road trip to Garden City from Manhattan on Saturday for six Kansas State University band members came to a screeching halt when a blown tire left them stranded roadside outside of Hanston.
But the members of the group made the most of the situation, and the result has made them social media celebrities.
It was the group's improvised, taped performance of “Wabash Cannonball,” while on the side of the road that generated the media frenzy.
The original Facebook post garnered approximately 3,600 Facebook reacts, 2,009 shares and 147,000 views on the original video alone, as of press time, with the result being that seven different statewide media outlets contacted the author of the post to get the full story, including The Telegram.
In what state but Kansas could a video of six young guys playing “Wabash Cannonball,” a quintessential K-State rally cry at sporting events, on their assorted instruments in the bed of a Chevy Silverado in rural Hodgeman County generate so much excitement?
The students — Trace Woods, Wesley Crow, Dakota Cavanaugh, Matt Hiteshew, Greg Bagley and Kodi Shouse — were headed to Garden City to work with students at Garden City High School during a week-long band camp. They will return to Manhattan on Saturday.
Woods, of Garden City, posted the video on Facebook on Monday morning. The clip captured the hearts and minds of people all over the state, depicting Woods drumming on the top of the Chevy with the palms of his hands, Bagley emulating the effects of a snare drum on the truck bed, Crow playing his trombone and Cavanaugh playing the trumpet.
The coverage from media outlets has only enhanced the boys’ fame, impelled by an enthusiasm shared among many K-State alumni and alumni to be. Cavanaugh described the collective as a family.
“That sense of family is something that has always been really important to K-State as a school, and 'Wabash' is kind of like a symbol of that because… it’s something that everybody recognizes within that community, and it’s a really cool way for members of the band to kind of interact with the community…” he said in an interview Wednesday.
The guys clarified that they all know how to change a tire, responding to some of the flack they’ve received from University of Kansas fans. They explained that the car’s orientation on the shoulder of the road, angling toward the ditch in the direction of traffic, resulted in a broken tire jack. They awaited response from AAA for about 90 minutes.
“So, naturally, being the band kids that we are, a couple of us pulled out instruments and started practicing. We got a little bored, so we decided to have some fun,” Woods wrote in his viral post. “I present to you, the Wabash Cannonball, side of the road edition.”
Woods said he had initially intended the post for family, friends and classmates, but after honoring a request to make the post public, he said it just “took off,” with news agencies contacting him that evening and requesting permission to use his video.
“We were just like, ‘Our friends will see it, and they’ll get a kick out of it.' But then three days later, we have 140,000 views, and it’s just like, 'What?'” Woods said.
“I think it’s just because it’s so silly,” Hiteshew said. “That happens all the time on the internet. You see something that’s kind of goofy, and it just kind of spirals out of control like that. I think that’s what happened here.”
“And you’re making the best of a bad situation,” Crow said. “You’re just having a good time.”
Contact Mark Minton at firstname.lastname@example.org