WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With Friday being the final showdown between longtime rivals Rider High and Old High, many alum and faculty are reflecting on their various memories from years past.
In Rider’s final year, what will Rider High School Band Director Loy Studer most remember? He said, for him, while helping students learn the valuable lessons of life is most important, he will most remember the camaraderie of everyone involved with the school.
The Rider-Old High game invokes a lot of different energy and emotions for a lot of Texomans, especially with this year being the final matchup between the two schools, and that applies to young people, older people, and especially for Loy Studer.
“So, like, the first place I ever went besides church when I was a newborn was the Rider-Old High game; I was two weeks old,” Studer said. “You know, my first birthday party was thrown by the senior class at Rider.”
Like many people, Studer has vivid memories of the games on the gridiron and specifically recalls the sounds of instruments in the stands.
“I loved going to Friday Night Lights – it was the the pinnacle of the week, right?” Studer said. “Like, you know, you get to go. And then I just remember driving up to Memorial Stadium, getting out of the car, and you could hear the bands playing and stuff as you’d go in. And that was always really cool. And I loved that. I loved halftime just as much as I love the game.”
Studer left the Texoma area after college but ended up coming back and joining the Rider High band program, where he imagined that he would remain for longer than the time that will be allotted.
“And then I thought my job here would be to be caretaker, and I’d pass it on to the next person,” Studer said. “And that’s how it would go one day. And, you know, now things are different.”
As circumstances changed, Studer nearly decided to leave the school before his final year, but that plan changed courses as well.
“I think one of the questions people always assume or ask myself all falls, is like, what did they give you to stay here?” Studer said. “Well, here’s what they gave me: They gave me an opportunity to finish the place off that I love, like, I love Wichita falls.”
With the days numbered, Studer reminds his students of the importance of building a future and legacy, not just earning shiny objects.
“Because you look around, you realize none of this is going to be here, and we always tell the kids that it’s not about the trophies,” Studer said. “Trophies are just some piece of wood and a piece of metal. It’s about the process. And if you do the right thing every day, it’ll take care of itself. But I think my legacy that I’m most proud of is all of the kids that have gone on. Our kids are doing great things.”
Some of those “kids” from years past actually found their way back.
“When I came to Rider, I really fell in love with band,” Assistant band director and former student Thomas Borgman said. “I love the program, I loved all the friends that I made and just all the opportunities that you get in band.”
Borgman is a Rider alum who found Rider’s band to be a personal development that shaped his personality and work ethic.
“Early on in my life when I first started music and getting into band, it was, I think, developing a sense of character and a sense of of of respect, you know, for other people,” Borgman said. “And then as a band director, you know, developing my hard work and my work ethic has, has been maybe the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that it takes a lot of work to do the job. It’s fun work, but it is a grind.”
From morning band practices, to Friday night halftime performances and concert showcases, Studer says this final swan song for the Rider High band is going to be both sentimental and full of spirit.
“You know, we’re just- we’re a band, but we try to show, like, for us, one family, one team is the motto of the school, and we really mean that,” Studer said. “Like, you know, you can’t boil it down into one thing. I think that’s what’s so cool about our whole community is the Texoma spirit.”
Studer said after this year, he’s looking forward to continuing music at another school and being with family, but he also said he’s planning and orchestrating new finale songs for the year. So remember to look forward to that.