A couple of big names decided to step away from the commotion and heraldry of Classic in the Country, and many people may have noticed the absence this year of two of the CitC’s bigger-than-life figures.
For the first time since the high school girls basketball showcase began, Rodney the Referee and Bubba the Basketball were nowhere to be found over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend at the Perry Reese Community Center in Berlin.
The two giant inflatable characters have become synonymous with the weekend’s festivities, utilizing their razor-sharp wit and fun-loving antics to thrill young and old alike.
According to Esther Mast, entertainment coordinator for CitC, the time was right for the two to simply ride off into the sunset.
“They retired. It was time,” Mast said. “They put in their notice, telling us they were done. They were getting beat up, and it was starting to take a physical toll on them, and they were just tired.”
With the dynamic duo having been such a vital part of the entertainment schedule at Classic over the years, the entertainment crew tried in vain to coerce them to come back for at least one more year, offering a wonderful pay upgrade along with a retirement package bonus. However, the two airheads felt it was time to step down and let the new wave of modern technology take a crack at entertaining the masses.
Mast said in their place, the entertainment team managed to come up with some new games, including ushering in some technological-based games for the crowd to enhance greater participation.
“We tried using some technological polls through people’s phones, so we thought we’d try moving into a new age for Classic,” Mast said.
As for Rodney and Bubba, fans will always have memories of their antics, from careening down the floor chasing after one another to interfering with fans participating in the halftime games. The pair has left their mark on the weekend, and they will not soon be forgotten.
“They have been so beloved over the years,” Mast said. “I’m sure many will miss them, but this was something they felt strongly about. Who knows? Maybe someday they will return after they get a chance to recuperate.”
With their calendars now empty, the two CitC stars decided to take the opportunity to move down to warmer weather this winter. Rather than have to endure the winter storm that blew through Amish Country, the two took the advice of Brian Love of The Beach Boys.
“They moved down to Kokomo,” longtime entertainment crew member Eric Miller said. “They heard the song ‘Kokomo’ so many times here at the Classic over the years that they decided to move down there and enjoy retirement.”
For the two entertainers, who many have said over the years never had inflated egos despite being filled with hot air, the lush and laid-back life of retirement in Florida is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Their dreams are now coming true off the Florida Keys, where there’s a place called Kokomo. That’s where they want to go to get away from it all. They got there fast, and now they’ll take it slow. That’s where they want to go, way down in Kokomo.