Football Announcer Calls Hickman His "Family"
Nobody knows Hickman High School sports quite like Hap Hallsted.
Fans regularly hear his voice ringing from the speakers at home football games and other sporting events.
Hallsted said the intensity grows as the season progresses.
"Friday night football here is a big time sport," he said. "It tends to intensify with cross town rivals like Rock Bridge and now Battle coming aboard."
The creation of Battle High School could affect the Hickman team, he said. Several players who attended Hickman are now at Battle, which could change dynamics on the field.
Hallsted said he's looking forward to this season. "It's always a good time."
On a typical Friday night home game, Hallsted arrives at Kewpie Stadium about 6:00 p.m. and prepares for the evening. He voices commercials and tries to help in getting everyone in the press box on the same page.
"It definitely takes teamwork," he said. "I'm the voice that people hear, but there's a lot of people behind the scenes that make me look good."
Hallsted has been the public address announcer for Hickman for nearly 10 years, topping off a more than 40-year career.
He grew up in Chadron, Nebraska, and attended Chadron High School where he tried his hand at sports. It's also where he got his start behind the microphone.
"I tried playing basketball and running track," Hallsted said. "But I'm much better at announcing than participating," he said, laughing.
Hallsted went on to attend Chadron State College.
In 1991, Hallsted and his wife moved to Columbia, where his wife became a teacher.
His first gigs as a public address announcer in Columbia were on a voluntary basis. He helped at Hickman, Rockbridge and West Jr. High.
Eventually, that led to a paid position.
"I truly enjoy what I do," he said. "For me, the next best thing to playing is announcing the game."
After settling in at Hickman, Hallsted said he has grown to appreciate the feeling of what has become a family in the press box and beyond.
"Hickman has a great balance between pep band, marching band, the students, cheerleading squad, the dance team, all of that," he said. "We've really got a good following."
Hallsted also acts as the PA announcer for Kewpie girls and boys basketball, baseball, softball and the MFA Oil / Break Time shootout at Mizzou Arena in late January.
He says one of his fondest memories was announcing during the 2005 Hickman baseball season.
"That year they had the ‘dream team' as everybody called them," he said. "That was probably the most enjoyable year to announce and travel with the team."
"It was very exciting to see them succeed," he said. "They were preseason favorites and they delivered."
One of his favorite parts of the job is senior night, Hallsted said.
"Senior night is great," he said. "It's when you get to see what career choices the guys make during that evening as their last performance as an athlete"
Other highlights of the job, according to Hallsted, include having "front row seats" to every home game as well as getting to see student athletes grow from their freshman year to their senior year.
Hallsted said he doesn't plan on leaving the Kewpies any time soon.
"As long as they allow me to do this, I will always be here," he said. "It's just always been a big family affair being a Kewpie. They always say, and I believe it, once a Kewpie, always a Kewpie."
View Hickman High School's regular season schedule.