Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 12
Cooperation brings broadband internet service to tiny Missouri town
by Jim McCarty | email@example.com
classic. He continues to make appearances at the tournament and was excited
to watch Jamestown compete with its unusually tall lineup for a small school.
"Norm, his mission with the classic is to highlight high school athletes at
hen Jamestown High School squared off against Bunceton on
Feb. 2 for its annual homecoming basketball game, many more all levels," says Susan McNay, business manager of the Norm Stewart Classic.
people than the capacity crowd watched the game. ESPN3 broad- "The reason he was excited about Jamestown was he saw them play in the clascast the matchup online to a live worldwide audience through its sic. It was a no-brainer to choose them for this."
Jamestown brought a 23-2 record into district tournament action, winning
Norm Stewart Classic Game of the Week.
It's not often that a basketball team from Class 1 - Missouri's smallest district 9 before bowing out in the state tournament opening round. Featurdesignation - gets a shot at the national spotlight. Jamestown has just 211 ing a 6-foot, 6-inch center and an entire starting lineup taller than 6 feet, the
students in the entire district and 105 in its high school. An opportunity for Eagles were formidable opponents in every game during the season.
Coach Seth Thomas says the team uses its potent defensive pressure to
national exposure on ESPN3 prompted everyone involved to
feed the offense through countless turnovers. "We have six guys who can
pull out all the stops to ensure the production took place withlead the scoring," he says. "We play strong defense and attack the rim
out a hitch.
using our athleticism and size."
Thanks to Co-Mo Electric Cooperative and its Co-Mo ConAs the school's physical education teacher in addition to coaching,
nect high-speed ﬁber-optic internet service, that's exactly what
the coach says he saw students and faculty alike popping into the
happened. Co-Mo stepped in when a problem all too familiar to
rural schools popped up: Jamestown lacked the bandwidth to
gymnasium all day long to watch as preparations for the broadJamestown
ensure the broadcast made it back to ESPN's studios in Bristol,
cast were made. He says the national exposure prompted an extra
effort but no anxiety from his team. "I knew this was going to be
a special event. Once school was out people were coming in and
"It takes a certain amount of bandwidth to transmit the sigreserving their seats," he said.
nal," says John Sprugel with Niles Media, a production company
The game tipped off with ESPN commentators Neil Harwell and
that ﬁlms and feeds the games to ESPN for live streaming. "The
Doug Elstun shoehorned into the full house. Jamestown jumped
bandwidth the school could give probably was OK but we needed it
to be 100 percent sure. What they did was very generous and allowed for the out to a quick lead off its full-court press and never looked back in an easy
signal to get back to ESPN. What they did was put in much more bandwidth 86-27 win.
The victory was nice, of course, but ultimately the event went far beyond
than was needed. There was no doubt in our minds that this would be a clean
the gymnasium walls, uniting the community of 386 in central Missouri. Athsignal."
Adds Gretchen Guitard, superintendent of Jamestown C-1 School, "The eve- letes watched the game later that night during the homecoming dance. At a
ning of the event there were two representatives (from Co-Mo Connect) here local diner in town patrons clustered around a table to see the team in action.
on standby. They were boots on deck that night. They also sent a tech over to Opposing coaches tuned in to see if the Jamestown hype was real.
"What's happened at Jamestown has happened in California and Tipton
install ports. They really went above and beyond. There was absolutely no hesiand other communities in Co-Mo's service area," says Barry Hart, CEO of the
tation on their part to do this."
Jamestown was one of 48 teams involved in the Norm Stewart Classic, a Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. "This shows there is hope for
48-hour, nonstop tournament honoring Mizzou's legendary coach while rais- high-speed internet service in rural America for rural schools and kids because
ing money to cure cancer. Now in its 10th year, the classic itself provides great of what Co-Mo has done."
He points out that Co-Mo Electric Manager Ken Johnson recently was tapped
exposure for student athletes while raising money for a worthy cause.
This year three teams from the classic, including Jamestown, were chosen by President Trump to head the Rural Utilities Service in large part due to his
for the national Game of the Week spotlight. The sports network ﬁrst brought leadership in providing high-speed internet service to a previously unserved
coverage to teams from the classic in 2015 due to the involvement of Norm rural area.
In this role Johnson will spearhead the effort to bridge the digital divide that
Stewart, whose success with the basketball Tigers led to his induction into the
is harming the rural economy and forcing the best and brightest rural kids to
National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
A cancer survivor himself, Norm was happy to lend his name to the annual move away.
RURAL MISSOURI | APRIL 2018