Retired school bus finds new life as Sooner party palace

Monday, September 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By SUSAN M. GROSSMAN, The Norman Transcript

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Who can explain the loyalty of college sports fans? There are fans, and then there are FANS -- those who go the extra yard, no, the extra mile.

Some simply wear their school colors, a school logo, or maybe have an alumni sticker in their car window.

Then there are fans like Billy and Emily Harless of Norman.

In June they bought a Moore Public Schools bus for $900 and are slowly converting it into the ultimate tailgate party bus.

You might have seen it parked on Lindsey Street near Brandt Park.

It's hard to miss, the ship's mast bearing all of the Big 12 pennants flapping in the breeze.

"Anyone who is a Sooner fan can come by," says Harless, sitting inside with his dog, Elvis, sipping a cool drink and joking with friends.

The idea from the bus came from a long-ago University of Oklahoma and Kansas State University football game.

"I saw this bus that had a hot tub and everything," Harless said. "Ever since then, I wanted one."

For many years, Harless towed a trailer to games.

"We've been tailgating here for many years."

For the bus, his father-in-law, Randy Corbin, has done most of the conversion.

A pipe fitter by trade, he cut the three-quarter-sized bus in half and installed a barbecue, handrails and picnic tables.

The bus is a work in progress. Corbin says, with a shower, air conditioning, a hot water tank, a generator and beds to come.

"We're going to make it into an RV that will go anywhere," Corbin said.

Corbin put in quite a bit of elbow grease to ready the bus for the season's opener against the University of Texas at El Paso.

Not only will the bus make appearances at OU football games, they plan to travel to out-of-town games, as well as to basketball and baseball games.

"Basically we support all the athletic events," Corbin said.

The bus bears the large interlocking OU and plays "Boomer Sooner" with a honk of the horn.

A family affair, Corbin is accompanied by his wife, Susan, two sons and other family members under a tent near his son-in-law's bus.

His wife says she thinks the whole bus thing is a bit silly.

"I guess it's just fine for men," she said, with a roll of her eyes.

For early kickoffs, they plan to arrive in time to start game day with breakfast. For night games, they come at noon.

Married since July, Harless received a master's degree in 1996 from OU. His wife graduated from OU in 1996 as well.

"We're just a bunch of people who enjoy Sooner athletics," Harless said.