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Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson (self proclaimed the “happiest man in town”) is co-owner, along with his son Mike, of Dave Johnson Sales at 8535 W. Kellogg. He was born and raised in Wichita, graduating from North High in the Spring of 1953 and began attending Wichita University as an art major and cheerleader that Fall. Dave participated with his mother in the development of the original WuShock, mascot concept, the first costume, and was the first mascot from 1954 to 1955. He began in the car business selling cars for Bob Moore Olds and Grant Davis, getting his own lot at Kellogg and West Street in 1959. In 1966 he became a franchise dealer for Chrysler with Dave Johnson Chrysler Plymouth at 7127 E. Kellogg. He partnered with Rusty Eck in 1984 on the Dollar Rent a Car franchise in Wichita, later expanding to Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He has been married to wife Billie for 55 years. They have 4 sons (David, Rusty, Mike, lost Chris at 35 years of age), 3 daughters-in-law (Sally, Theresa and Toni), 16 grandkids and 3 great grandkids. You can reach Dave (the Gunner) at Dave Johnson Sales on West Kellogg, by phone at (316) 721-0442, or by email at wushock1dj@cox.net.
Did you know?
2011-07-01 13:56:00
The history of “WuShock”
Answer: Yes, I was…and I am always proud to tell folks how it all came about and where they can read about it. Like The Naked City, the old TV Show in the late 50s used to say, “There are 8 million stories in the Naked City…this is just one of them.” There may not be 8 million stories about Wichita State University at www.goshockers.com, but there are a lot of them. Here’s just one that was written about WuShock. It was in 1904 when Wichita State University was known as Fairmount College that R.J. Kirk (Class of 1907), a football manager, invented the name “Wheat Shockers” for posters to advertise a game against the Chilocco Indians. Kirk had put the word “Indians” under the name Chilocco and a press agent for the Wichita Fall Festival, helping to publicize the contest, demanded that Kirk should produce a nickname for Fairmount to balance the poster. In those days, when wheat was shocked or headed, the majority of the players earned a stake for college expenses by working all summer in the harvest and threshing and came back tough enough to play 60-minute games. Although the name was never officially adopted, it caught on, was combined into one word, and survived until it was shortened to “Shockers” as Wichita State teams are known today. The story of WuShock began in 1948. Wichita University students of the art department were invited by Kappa Pi art fraternity to compete in the creation of a design to typify the spirit of the school. Walter Lengel’s design students were given the assignment as a requirement of his class. The entries were to be judged by members of the student publications board. The contest was wide open...no theme was established. Wilbur Elsea, a junior who had been a Marine during World War II, decided that, “the school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression...with a serious, no-nonsense scowl.” And his design for the WuShock character was adopted. WuShock got its name in another contest, which was won by freshman Jack Kersting. But the story does not end there. Dave Johnson, a WU cheerleader, changed the mascot from ink into flesh and blood in 1954. He and members of the art department brought WuShock to life as a costume. He has been the WSU mascot since 1948, and has been in the movies, thrown out of a basketball game, been kidnapped and has entertained thousands of Shocker fans. Here are a couple more memories to add…I remember the basketball team of 1953-54, made up of Cleo Littleton, Jim McNerney, Gary Thompson & many more greats, coached by Ralph Miller...we went to the NIT in March 1954 (3rd seeded). Back in those days, if we (WU cheerleaders, 4 guys and 4 girls) wanted to go, we had to raise our own money to go to New York by train. We did. I remember cheering in Madison Square Garden. WOW…what an experience! Here we were, at the 1954 NIT, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City for 5 days...round trip by train. There was no hurry to come home. Just take it all in and mix with fellow classmates. That was special. That’s when I saw other schools with mascots. I thought it was time Wichita University got one, so I, with my mother’s help, made the first two costumes. There was WuShock (me) and Shadow (my partner). The debut was in the fall of ’54 with WU Football. Isn’t that a great phrase…WU Football? Jack Mitchell was our coach. We had a lot of school rallies, with students and pep teams. Of course there wasn’t any email, texting or cell phones. It was just a lot of mixing with each other and talking. There are “good ol’ days” from lots of eras. Those were the good ol’ days for me…talking to each other eye to eye. I loved WU and some of my best friends today are from that period…Jim McNerney, Cleo Littleton, Don Harries, Armida Romero Hight, Marilyn Preboth Wells, Nancy Baldwin Farrow and many more old classmates.
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