Sometimes I think if it wasn’t for nostalgia, we wouldn’t pine for the past…… For two weeks last month, Denton was the back lot for the filming of a documentary about a transitional period of our history. The beginning of the story is not pretty, but it plays out into a major step toward the positive.
“When We Were All Broncos” (WWWAB) is to be a documentary on Denton of the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s and how desegregation played out here. It uses the Denton High School football team of those years, particularly the team which culminated with the Seniors of 1973 as the subject of the film.
David Barrow was a member of that team and is the brain and driving force behind this mammoth project. David now lives in Dekalb, Illinois, but still considers Denton “home”. David has always viewed said time period as a defining moment not only in his life, but in that of the world. Desegregation of the Denton ISD (and our society in general) was still occurring during this period, along with the war in Viet Nam and overall civil unrest. David recently decided to bring the back of his mind to the forefront and to chronicle the turbulent 1960s and 1970s with Denton as the backdrop.
WWWAB started as a small project, but quickly mushroomed into a gigantic effort after David began to contact people in Denton. Pledges of resources, time, money and memories came pouring in and the documentary took off.
With interviews scheduled with coaches, teachers, players, local politicians and civil rights leaders of the time and various other characters in the “story”, David arrived in Denton… plate-full. His days were jam packed with capturing the stories, memories and feel of the time.
The DHS Broncos football team that year won District………the era ending only with a defeat to high school powerhouse, Odessa Permian in the Regional play-offs. The game was attended by 12,000 Dentonites in Odessa, a huge percentage of the population at the time. They were special times, starring special people, which reflected the specialness of the town we call home.
In what I imagine will be the grand finale of the documentary, DHS Broncos from NINE different decades congregated at Bronco Field on Saturday, June 29 in a massive reunion. An estimated 500 people came to renew friendships, reminisce, and to become part of history.
Mr. Barrow opened the gathering with a brief summary of the project, followed by a little DHS trivia. Present Denton ISD superintendent, Dr. Jaime Wilson addressed the crowd, as did former DHS cheerleader and present Denton Mayor pro tem, Pete Kamp. Billy Ryan, who was head coach at DHS at that time and after whom Ryan High School was named, was represented by his son and daughter, Cleve and Teresa. Cleve’s short speech about his deceased father was a touching start to the events of that day.
The documentary was partially underwritten by small contributors and by three large ones…..ocimageworks, the Denton Record-Chronicle and Bill Utter Ford. The costs of production are about half covered, and money continues to come in. After production costs are covered, Mr. Barrow intends to use any extra to establish a scholarship and build a courtyard at DHS. The courtyard will be created using sponsored bricks, similar to the area surrounding the Campus Theater. The bricks will be $100 for a 4×8 brick with two lines of printing and $400 for an 8×8 with 4 lines of printing. Information RE: how to participate in the project will soon be on the Denton ISD site and I will post it here when details become available. Donations are still needed and appreciated…..
“When We Were All Broncos” will most likely first be seen in Denton at the Thin Line Film Festival in the Fall of 2014. Thank you David for all you have done with this documentary and for all the work ahead.
It’s great to be from Denton!