by Danny Wade
If you’ve seen these yellow and red license plates on the front of vehicles driving around town with the number 172 on them, you might wonder what that number stands for. The license plates are displayed by Humboldt Vikings supporters.
But what is the significance of 172?
“That’s the number of miles from the front door of the high school (Humboldt Jr. & Sr. High School) and the Murphy Center,” explained Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes.
The Murphy Center is where the state championship basketball tournaments are held each year in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Sikes said he and Humboldt Chamber of Commerce executive director, Lee Williams, used Google to get the exact miles.
Mayor Sikes got the idea when Viking head coach, Ron Abernathy, was speaker at a Rotary Club meeting. Coach Ab said during the meeting that he had noticed a number on another team’s warm-up pants during the pre-game. After that game he asked a player about the number. The player said it was the number of miles to Murfreesboro.
Sikes thought that was great. He borrowed that idea and ran with it. But instead of the team displaying the number, Sikes thought it would be great if the entire city could display it on a license plate.
Sikes ordered several plates, gave some to friends, but he also gave several to the high school who are now selling them as a fundraiser.
The Humboldt Vikings are ranked No. 1 in the state for Class A. there are high expectations for this year’s team to make a run at the state title and bring home the Gold Ball trophy.
“The boys basketball team has really pulled the community together!” director of schools, Dr. Versie Hamlett said. “At each game, I see the bleachers packed with cheering fans. Our school system is blessed to have such strong community involvement and I look forward to continuing to support the team as they continue this incredible journey of 172!”
“This is a great way to support your school and show your school spirit,” HJSHS principal, James Walker said. “The license plates can be purchased in the school office. The cost is $5 per license plate.”
The license plates were being sold during Monday night’s game at the District 14A tournament’s first round game on the Vikings’ home court, according to Walker.
Mayor Sikes said if they sell out, he would have more made.
If the Vikings continue their winning ways and advance through the district and regional tournament, these license plates will be a hot commodity for Humboldt fans and school/athlete supporters. The sales from the license plates could go toward funding the trip to Murfreesboro if and when that happens. Other fundraisers and donations would also help fund the travel and stay expenses.
Regardless of how this basketball season ends for the 2017 Vikings, it’s been a great run for a great bunch of kids. Fans displaying a license plate on their vehicle, shows they support Humboldt sports, win, lose or draw—that’s a win-win for Humboldt!