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MU raising money to replace Big MO

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Decades of distracting opposing quarterbacks have taken a physical toll on the 150-pound bass drum used to fire up the Faurot Field home crowd at Missouri football games.

Two music service fraternities that care for the Big MO drum are attempting to raise $55,000 to replace the 6-foot icon. The drum, a gift from the St. Louis Quarterback Club, has been a fixture beyond Memorial Stadium’s south end zone since 1981.

The Columbia Missourian reported the new Big MO will measure 9 feet in diameter and 54 inches wide. The bass drum’s caretakers spent more than four years trying to find a qualified builder for a drum that stands 11 feet tall when on its rolling cart.

“All the drum companies we talked to said, ‘There’s no way we can do it,’” said drum crew member John Schetley. “We were told that several times.”

With duct tape holding it together and a damaged cart, Big MO’s wounds are obvious. Its lure is also high, as fans at the April 16 spring football game lined up outside the stadium before the game to bang the drum in exchange for a $1 donation.

Kappa Kappa Psi president Will Bryan found Neil Boumpani, a custom drum maker in Barnesville, Ga., through an online search. The drum maker “takes on jobs that others do not believe are possible,” according to his website.

“I like the challenge,” Boumpani said. “This drum’s going to be one-of-a-kind and every part’s being made specifically for it.”

The new Big MO will overtake Texas’ “Big Bertha” and Purdue’s “Monster” as the largest collegiate marching bass drum, according to the Missourian. It will take six people to operate as opposed to the old twomember crew.

“It’ll also be a whole heck of a lot louder than the current Big MO,” Bryan said. “Hopefully it’ll rile everything up more than it already is and make Faurot Field one of the nation’s hardest places to play.”

The new Big MO will make its debut Oct. 15 during the 2011 Homecoming game against Iowa State.

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