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MU Homecoming “Bloat”
Midwest Region, October 20, 2007
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Members of the Missouri University School of Natural Resources Alumni Association and student leaders aboard the trawl boat
Members of the Missouri University School of Natural Resources Alumni Association and student leaders aboard the trawl boat "Phoenix" ready for the homecoming parade.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

The University of Missouri started the tradition of Homecoming in 1911 when MU football coach and Director of Athletics Chester Brewer invited former students to "come home" to Columbia, MO for the annual football game between the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas. This tradition has spread throughout the world, but the University of Missouri still boasts the largest student-run Homecoming in the nation.

As Chairman of Activities for the MU School of Natural Resources Alumni Association Board of Directors, Fish Biologist Jeff Finley was asked for a new idea for a parade float.  The first thing to pop in my mind was the trawl boat “Phoenix”.  

The parade is one of the largest in Columbia with 138 floats and lasts about 2 hours. The Columbia NFWCO had been seeking alternative opportunities for public outreach through several of the community parades held in Columbia and this seemed the best fit. 

Soon the parade boat-float was dubbed the “Bloat” and we planned how to decorate it.   Fish biologist, Cliff Wilson, also a Mizzou grad, agreed to drive the “bloat” and helped decorate as we waited on the preceding 99 entries to begin the parade. 

Cliff, a member of the pallid crew assigned to the “Phoenix” had some reservation about “Frilling up such a manly boat” but soon found the MU spirit and helped deck out the vessel in black and gold. 


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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