Journal-World KU reporter Jonathan Kealing is covering the fans in and on their way to Miami for the Jayhawks' first ever BCS bowl game. Check out some pitstops and potholes on the way to Miami and keep up with Journal-World Orange Bowl coverage from Miami on our interactive road trip map.
MISSION In late 1947, before the advent of jet aviation and the interstate highway system, the best way to get to the 1948 Orange Bowl was by train.
Two former Kansas University cheerleaders recall that train ride lasting two days.
While it has been 60 years since KU made its first appearance in an Orange Bowl, Alberta Cornwell and Dick Wintermote remember that trip vividly.
"We led the Orange Bowl parade that year with the band - the KU band - right behind us," Wintermote said. "We had a good time, lots of fun. We knew all the players in those days."
Cornwell - who was known as Alberta Mahoney then - was on the squad for four years before the fall 1947 football season when she started taking classes at KU's medical center. She couldn't miss the big game and convinced the cheerleading squad to include her. After clearing that hurdle, she needed to raise money for the trip. The train ride cost $5 and she didn't even have that.
So Cornwell did something that a lot of current KU students surely can relate to: She sold a pint of blood for $35. She received the cash and was off to Florida.
"I couldn't do any acrobatics, but I had a good loud voice," she said in her home in suburban Kansas City last week. "As the years have gone by, my voice has gotten lower and lower."
Like many members of the Kansas team in '48, Cornwell had never been to Florida or seen a beach.
She'd grown up poor in Emporia. Her big adventures were to Ottawa. She'd made two trips to Wichita and one to Kansas City before her education planted her in Kansas City permanently. So when the team arrived in Florida, everything was new and exciting.
"It was such a thrill to lead the Orange Bowl parade," she said. "I just couldn't believe the floats they had."
Cornwell and her husband, Bill, who died several years ago, had season tickets to KU football games for about 45 years and hardly missed a home game. Since his death, Cornwell hasn't renewed the tickets but has caught almost every game that has been on TV.
Cornwell kept copies of newspaper clippings from all the stories on KU's Orange Bowl trip, including pictures of the band and the parade. Just a few weeks ago - after she learned that KU would finally be returning to the Orange Bowl - she donated the old newspapers to the KU Alumni Association.
And despite all the years of bad football, Wintermote - who lives in Lawrence after retiring from the KU Alumni Association - said he never had any doubt KU would make more trips to the Orange Bowl.
"We're always positive. We never give up. We had a positive outlook, even after losing," he said. "I told Otto the other day, 'I don't think you ever stepped out of bounds.' "
Otto Schnellbacher, who now lives in Topeka, had scored what looked to be a game-winning touchdown, only to be ruled out of bounds at the 4-yard line. Georgia Tech ended up winning the game.
KU Football - Orange Bowl
- Been there, done that (01-02-08)
- Keegan: Kicker puts past to rest (01-02-08)
- Tech's 'Macho' man lives up to name (01-02-08)
- Ryan Wood's Orange Bowl notebook (01-02-08)
- Virginia Tech fans call Lawrence home (01-02-08)
- Orange zest (01-02-08)
- KUSports Orange Bowl coverage
- 2007 Schedule
- 2007 Roster
- 2007 Depth Chart