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"It's Boulder this summer," advised an advertisement in the Los Angeles Free Press, and hundreds of hippies crossed over from California and settled into the Colorado town located on an eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. A minister leased private property to provide the street people, as the residents of Boulder call them, with a campsite, but when his plan was opposed first by the zoning board and then the plumbers, who refused to install showers and toilets, many street people made camp along Boulder Creek, a stream flowing through town. There they tossed Frisbees, romped with dogs and rapped with one another.
Some preferred to congregate in an area called The Hill, located across the street from the campus of the University of Colorado. Their large numbers, however, ran afoul of a city ordinance concerning the obstruction of traffic. Police Chief Donald Vendel increased his force on The Hill, and by midsummer the street people and the merchants and residents of Boulder coexisted peacefully, if not happily.
While the street people poured into Boulder, Colorado Football Coach Eddie Crowder busied himself with his own campaign to attract people to town. His staff mailed out 750,000 flyers containing ticket-order forms. "Be a Buff Booster," they read. "Exciting afternoons will be yours when you become a Colorado football regular." Movie theaters flashed the number to call for tickets on their screens and a local radio station played several spots each hour. A Denver lumber company devoted its billboard to the question, "Do you have your Colorado tickets?"
"Ten years ago the pro sports were centralized in a few areas of dense population," Crowder explained. "But the sports market has made an immense transition. Now the pros are everywhere and colleges and universities are realizing it's a competitive market. A coach must take his case to the people."
Salesman Crowder has an interesting package to market. There is, for example, an extrovert named Bill Blanchard. Blanchard, a linebacker, has grown a mustache, rides a motorcycle and wears a surfer's crash helmet. He is an artist and delights in creating grotesque charcoal drawings of football players.
Blanchard's opposite, the team's introvert, is Defensive End Herb Orvis. During a practice last season he went up to Crowder close to tears and asked to be excused from ever having to talk to the press. An orphan, he was raised by his grandmother in Flint, Mich. By the age of 16 he had dropped out of high school and went to work in an automobile parts plant. Orvis completed high school in the Army, and Crowder discovered him in Germany during the summer of 1967 when he was playing for a service team called the Berlin Bears.
John Stearns, a sophomore defensive back, is Crowder's fiercest athlete—and a rather frightening one. "When I leave here I want to be known as the hardest hitter in the Big Eight," he says, beginning to get carried away with that prospect. "I can't enjoy football without going savage. Going psycho. I would like to be remembered around the conference as a bad dude."
"Five years ago this team would have had a shot at the national championship," Crowder says. "Now, because this conference has become so tough, we are content to be contenders for the Big Eight title. And we'll certainly be that!"