In 1960, a seven-year-old, wide-eyed boy followed his father, a radio man, into the sectional championship game.

It was the boy’s hometown Seymour basketball team, led by future Air Force Academy star John Judd, against Andy White’s Medora Hornets — an all-star, all-Jackson County match up.

Following the first tip of the ball, the boy alternated glances between the game and his father, who was feverishly writing down statistics with every shot release.

A fan tapped the boy on the shoulder.

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“How many points for Judd?” the Owls fan asked.

The boys fired off an answer and exchanged smiles with the patron.

Another tap.

“Hey, how many does White have?”

Again, an answer came without hesitation.

That’s the way it’s been for the past 40 years for Bud Shippee — the voice of the Owls.

Early beginnings

In 1949, Bob Shippee, Bud’s father, was the first person on-air in Seymour.A year later, Bob began broadcasting high school sports for the community.“Dad was the engineer, statistician and color man,” Bud Shippee said. “He didn’t do the play-by-play. I started going to football and basketball games before I can remember.”

Back in the day, Bud stood side-by-side with his father at games.

“When I started going to games at Emerson Field, we had a 10- to 15-foot scaffold to broadcast games from,” Shippee said. They had a platform on top, and you’d climb up there and put the equipment together. He would come down and help me up when I was 5 years old. He also did some broadcasting in the bleachers.”

Engulfed in radio his entire childhood, Bud decided to pursue a degree to follow in his father’s footsteps after graduating from Seymour High School in 1970.

“When I was in high school, I worked (at the radio station) for 2½ years before going to Indiana State, where I got a degree in journalism in radio and TV,” Shippee said. “After college, I really wanted to go into newspaper work, but shortly after I got out of school the job opened (at the station) for a news/sports director and play-by-play.

“That was too much to pass up. I had always wanted to do play-by-play, and the timing worked out that way. I started working here in the fall of 1976.

“When I got the job, I had never done a game play-by-play, other than me sitting in my room doing it,” Shippee said. “My dad was a little nervous about me doing it. We always went to the Kentucky-Indiana (basketball) All-Star games together.”

Calming dad’s nerves

At the All-Star game in 1976, Bud started pursuing his dream of live-calling basketball and football games.“I had gotten the job in May of 1976, and the game was in June,” Shippee said. “(Bob) gave me a portable cassette player and said, ‘You just do the game, and let’s see how it goes.’ We weren’t in media row. We were with the fans down low in the seating. I don’t know what the fans around me thought — they probably thought I was crazy.“My dad stopped watching the game, turned and looked at me. On the way home he said, ‘I couldn’t believe that. I was worried, but you took all the worries away from me.’ I had done it in my mind or in my room before the game, and it seemed to come natural. I listened to games on the radio my whole life. I had my grandfather’s old, big-box radio, which had a big dial. I had lines on the radio where I could find all the games.”

Fan at heart

While he tried to stay as objective as possible, Bud said it was difficult to maintain a neutral stance early in his career.“When I first started, it was hard because I was such a fan. I got so wrapped up,” Shippee said. “My first year, when I was doing basketball in the 1976-77 year, it was the sectional championship (Seymour) against Scottsburg. We won on a last-second shot in overtime, and I was so nervous.“During timeouts I had to get up and walk around while my dad was doing everything else. Several years after that it was like that. I’m a lot calmer now, except in some of the close, competitive games. There are certain games I will always remember, like the semistate in football win when no one expected us to make it there.”

Giving back

Broadcasting games made Bud feel like he was giving back to the community, by relaying games to those who couldn’t attend.“When I was growing up, you could turn on the radio and get games from all over the place,” Shippee said. “It was a day when every town did their high school games. There weren’t many games on TV in the ’50s and ’60s. It was rare to see them.“My father would show me how to get essential information. It’s hard to copy someone else’s language. Everyone has a particular word they like to use. The thing I did most, and my father told me to do, is to listen to people on the radio and figure out what information you would have liked to have known but didn’t get. I’ve always tried to do that.”

What they want to hear

Bud has always tried to stay true to his journalism roots, focusing on the information that the people want to hear.“It was always less about the aesthetics of style as the meat and potatoes of it,” Shippee said. “What information do people want? My father was always about staying away from complaining about officials. People don’t really want to hear that. People at home can hear the crowd over the radio, or you can give a way in your voice letting them know it was a little questionable. He was less about my style as getting the information right.”For 14 years, Bud worked with his father, until Bob retired in 1990.

Girls play, too

One facet that Bud’s radio station always has prided itself on in Seymour is its full coverage of numerous team sports.Whether it was football, basketball or baseball, the station had you covered.

While boys athletics has been covered for nearly 30 years, girls didn’t get the same recognition until Title IX was passed.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame coach Donna Sullivan of Seymour helped build girls athletics in the 1970s and began working with Shippee early in his career.

From there, Shippee was one of the first play-by-play broadcasters to cover girls basketball in the state.

“When I came back from college, we would do a girls game or two here and there,” Shippee said. “As things progressed, in the early ’80s, we started doing more games. By the mid-80s, working with coach Sullivan, we said ‘They’re good, and people are interested.’

“We were one of the first to broadcast all of the girls basketball games. For close to 30 years now, we’ve done all the girls basketball games. I have to credit coach Sullivan for that. She’s such a promoter for athletics and made it easy for us. It really helped gain some popularity for the sports.

“The more media coverage (girls) sports got, the more people realized how good they were and wanted to see them play.”

‘Promoter of athletics’

Sullivan and Shippee worked together for 34 years.“Bud is a great guy and supporter,” Sullivan said. “Our girls, he knew who they were and was a great promoter of athletics. I appreciated everything he did. Back when we started girls basketball, the year we went to the state finals, he was one of the first broadcasters for the girls. He’s done it ever since. A lot of schools in the area didn’t have a radio station. He always promoted girls sports as well as the guys.“I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. I just have the greatest respect for Bud and what he’s done. He’s meant so much for Seymour, not just in athletics, but by the type of person he is. He’s a tremendous ambassador for Seymour.”

Around that same time, Shippee worked with Seymour’s Hall of Fame football coach Joe Goodman.

Shippee said Goodman helped him early in his career, and he owes a lot to the coach for working with him when he was 23 years old.

“If I’ve had any success, it’s because of the people that I’ve been able to work with,” Shippee said. “When I first started football, coach Goodman was in his third year. The first time I ever talked to him it was like he’d known me forever. He made sure I had anything I needed to know.

“At the same time, when we started with girls’ athletics, Donna Sullivan. Sullivan is a hall of fame coach, but more so a hall of fame person. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with. Everyone knew who I was through my father. We worked with all the athletic directors and have known them for so long.”

‘Put the people there’

Goodman and Shippee have maintained a close relationship through the years, even after the 26 years of working football games.“I think he’s a great play- by-play guy,” Goodman said. “When you’re on radio, I’ve always thought that you want to put the people there. Even though you can’t see it you really want to be there. “In radio, you have to make your words project an image. Being able to do that is tough to do. Bud’s great at it; he has a great image and a voice. We used to have a television show years ago with the local cable company; I would come in and recount the last game.

“I can’t imagine anyone else doing the games. I have tape after tape of signature games that he’s broadcasted here. He used to do my highlight tape of the season that he’d narrate. He loves the community. He’s following in the legacy of his father. I’ve said that he could have left a long time ago because he’s so good. He just loves the community and the high school. There’s something to be said of appreciating your hometown.”

Looking toward the future

Every morning, Bud arrives at the office around 5 a.m. to start operations for WZZB 1390 AM and KIX 92.7 FM.As the operations manager and news/sports director, he oversees the on-air staff.Not much has changed on his professional side. He still covers the basketball and football games.

In his small, rectangular office, Bud has broadcasting plaques hung high.

In front of his desk is a custom-made calendar, with photos of his family gracing every page: his wife of 34 years, Debbie; his daughter Jamie with granddaughter Addison; and son Tyler, holding 8-month-old granddaughter Brooklynn.

While he has been presented opportunities to work in bigger settings, Shippee’s No. 1 focus always has been family.

“It’s funny. My father had seven siblings up in northern Illinois, and he came to Seymour after serving in the Marine Corps,” Shippee said. “It was about 400 miles from his home, and we would see his family once a year. My mother was from Kentucky, and her siblings moved away also, so we never saw them.

“The only family we had growing up was my immediate family. I thought we missed out on a lot, and my dad always said that he missed seeing his family. There have been opportunists to do some more stuff professionally, but I wanted to stay here to be with family. If I’m going to stay somewhere, this is he place I want to be.”

Changes aplenty

As the years have passed, Shippee has seen generations go through Seymour.“When I started, all of these people I worked with had coached me like (former athletics director) Mickey Beck,” Shippee said. “Now, I’m working with people younger than my kids. I went from being really young, to now where the coaches are 30 years younger than me.“I’ve been doing games longer than they’ve been alive, it’s really funny. They show me so much respect, and sometimes I want to tell them I’m not really that old. Everyone treats me great.”

An important milestone

Throughout the years, the number 40 has always held significance for Bud.“The number, 40 years, only has one significance to me — that’s how many years my father did it,” Shippee said. “He did broadcasting from 1950 to 1990. One of the things I always wanted to do is to be a part of it as long as he did. I just thought that since he was able to do it for 40 years, it would be great for me to do it. “Now, for the past 65 years there has been a Shippee broadcasting Seymour sports. Now that’s a long time. Yes, 40 is 40, but it means more to me than that.”

For the past 16 years, Bud has worked alongside Jay Hubbard in the sports booths.

Prior to that, he worked with Larry Cooper for 10 years before his father retired.

Hubbard and Shippee work football and basketball games together, with Bud managing the play-by-play. Hubbard has taken over as the baseball and softball broadcaster.

Growing up in Seymour, Hubbard loved radio because of Shippee.

“Bud is the reason I’m in radio,” Hubbard said. “He’s the reason why I do what I do. I listened to him growing up. (Doing radio) for 40 years is amazing. Everyone knows him. If you listen to Seymour sports, you’re going to hear Bud Shippee on the radio.”

‘Dream come true’

Hubbard started as a board operations manager with the radio station and has been a part of the station for 22 years.“When I had the opportunity to broadcast with him, it was a dream come true,” Hubbard said. “When I first started, I grew up listening to him and wanted to get into broadcasting sports. We have a working relationship, but I consider him a good friend. We make a lot of road trips together. Most of the time, we talk about things other than games. Working with Bud, I can’t imagine going anywhere else or working with anyone else but him.”As long as Hubbard stays with the station, he will take over Bud’s when he retires.

“Anyone who does anything for 40 years deserves a lot of credit and praise,” Hubbard said. “To me, Bud Shippee is the true epitome of broadcasting. He is the voice of Seymour. I can’t imagine that there is anyone out there who hasn’t heard a Seymour game on the radio.

“I think we both look at it that if someone isn’t at the game we have to make it feel like they’re at the game and let them know what’s going on. He does an excellent job at that. Listening to him on the radio, it feels like you’re there. As far as quality goes, he describes the picture really well. You know when that ball is in the corner or the top of the key. When I’m doing games, I find myself saying things that he’s been doing for 40 years.”

‘Part of me’

With no timetable, at 62 years old, Bud plans on continuing to cover Seymour athletics.“I really like it,” Shippee said. “Seymour sports has always been a part of me. My father always emphasized that the radio station is the voice of Seymour sports, and we haven’t tried to turn it into our personalities, but that’s the nature of it. “I enjoy it and am glad that I’ve been able to do it long enough, so the title kind of fits, ‘Voice of the Owls.’”

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What: Salem (1-2) at Brownstown Central (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Radio: 96.3-WJAA

Where: Blevins Memorial Stadium

Last outing: Brownstown Central def. Pekin 37-0, North Harrison def. Salem 33-30

Most recent meeting: Brownstown Central won 47-0 on Sept. 12, 2014

Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 21-13

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The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 37-0 win over Pekin

Earning honors are Justin Donnells, Offensive Back MVP; Jacob Brewer, Offensive Line MVP; Clay Wilkerson, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Derek Rieckers, Defensive Back/Dime MVP; Tristan Robinson, Special Teams MVP; Kaleb Pearson, Scout Team MVP; Tanner Bell, Cameron Eggersman, Brewer, Donnells black jersey winners.

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What: Seymour (0-3) at Floyd Central (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Scott Field

Radio: 92.7-WXKU

Last outing: Columbus East def. Seymour 69-12, Floyd Central def. Madison 13-7

Most recent meeting: Floyd Central won 43-7 on Sept. 12, 2014.

Series past 30 years: Seymour 10-8

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“(Bud Shippee) just loves the community and the high school. There’s something to be said of appreciating your home town.” – Joe Goodman, former Seymour football coach

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“To me, Bud Shippee is the true epitome of broadcasting. He is the voice of Seymour. I can’t imagine that there is anyone out there who hasn’t heard a Seymour game on the radio. – Jay Hubbard

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“I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. I just have the greatest respect for Bud and what he’s done. He’s meant so much for Seymour, not just  athletics, but by the type of person he is. He’s a tremendous ambassador for Seymour.” – Donna Sullivan, former Seymour girls basketball coach