Rex Hudler took the microphone and didn’t disappoint the fans crowded into Pirate Stadium.
Known as the flamboyant broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals, Hudler made the trip to Platte City on Friday, Oct. 14 to accept a donation to Team Up for Down Sydnrome — the charity he started with his wife Jennifer Hudler. Platte County and Kearney high schools continued a newly founded tradition associated with their annual rivalry football game.
This year, Platte County’s Future Business Leaders of America and Interact clubs organized the fundraising efforts. In all, $6,850 went to Team Up for Down Syndrome, which helps kids with special needs.
“Folks, thank you so much. We appreciate you, yeah. It’s so great to be here,” Rex Hudler said at halftime of the football game to the excited crowd. “What a great night. Thanks for your support.”
The home team picks the benefited charity each year, and Platte County chose Hudler’s foundation.
Commemorative T-shirts were presold and sold at the game in addition to a 50/50 raffle. The Price Chopper grocery stores in each town also collected donations leading up to the game. All of the money went Team Up for Down Syndrome, which will funnel the money back into local communities.
“They’ve worked so hard, and we’re so thankful for everything they’ve done,” Jennifer Hudler said. “Give yourselves a hand for all of the money you raised tonight. Thank you so much.”
Rex Hudler just completed his fifth year as Royals broadcaster and is known as much for his genuine personality as his unique style on the microphone.
Hudler’s son, Cade, was born with Down Syndrome in 1996. Playing with the Philadelphia Phillies at the time, the family started the foundation which now operates out of Overland Park, Kan. Platte County students came up with the idea after the recent Special Day at The K held in September, offering a chance for Royals fans to donate the proceeds from special tickets purchased to Team Up for Down Syndrome.
Prior to the game, Hudler showed up and took pictures and talked with fans. He also served as an honorary captain and flipped the coin during the pregame.
“We had a gift given to us, an unconditional love, so we might as well take him and share him with the world,” Rex Hudler told the St. Joseph News-Press. “We are proud of him. We started doing the fundraiser to raise awareness that differences are special and good — to lift them up and share with parents it is OK to have a child with a disability. It can happen with anyone. It is not a bad thing at all. The attitude is embracing the child and taking him or her to reach their full potential.”
The Highway 92 Showdown entered its second year with the winner of the game taking a traveling trophy sign, which features a Highway 92 street sign — a nod to the stretch of road that connects the two schools, located about 30 miles apart — and the logo of each team. The license-plate shaped sign receives a sticker at the bottom denoting the winning team and year.
Platte County wins will have an orange tag, and Kearney wins will have a purple tag. For the second straight year, Kearney won the rivalry game.
Kearney will host the Highway 92 Showdown for the first time next season and will pick the charity.