30th in an occasional series It's a pretty satisfying view high atop Doug Flansburg's old Case IH combine as he cruises at a steady two-and-a-half mph over his fields of soft white wheat.
30th in an occasional series
It’s a pretty satisfying view high atop Doug Flansburg’s old Case IH combine as he cruises at a steady two-and-a-half mph over his fields of soft white wheat.
The days are long, at least 12 hours each, but his wheat crop is ready and the price per bushel is good, approaching $7.
Inside the air-conditioned cab, NPR is a steady companion as he cuts a 30-foot-wide swath on the hills just south of Palouse. He listens all day so “I don’t have to go over and over my high-school days, my WSU days, my Vietnam days.”
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Flansburg, 66, is the fourth of five generations of wheat farmers, and he’s lived his whole life within 12 miles of the farm.
He starred on an eight-man, single-wing football team at Palouse High three miles away, where he either ran or passed the ball on every play, amassing thousands of yards.
He later went to nearby Washington State University, where he played football on the 1965, ’66 and ’67 teams, going from walk-on to full scholarship player.
Tall and thin, Flansburg was a split end, about as big as the linemen then — 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.
“I was not fast but had great routes,” he said.
“We used a lot of timing patterns. I never saw the quarterback throw the ball … just turned around and the ball hit me in the hands.”
The 1965 team was known as the “Cardiac Kids” for heart-stopping, last-minute victories. WSU went 7-3 that year. He still holds the school record for catching 12 passes in a game, set the following year in a loss to Houston in the Astrodome.
This Saturday during half-time ceremonies at the WSU home game, he’ll be introduced as one of the newest inductees into their football Hall of Fame.
Flansburg still has his letter jacket, letterman’s ring and “just might slip into my letter sweater” for the ceremony, even in the expected 92-degree heat.
But most satisfying, he says, is that his proud parents, both in their 90s, will be in the stands savoring the moment with him.
Alan Berner: email@example.com or 206-464-8133