A delegation of coaches, Bobcats, friends, a cheerleader and the principal went to her Houston Street home Sunday afternoon to show her just how much her loyalty means to the team and school. They presented her with the Bobcats’ State Semifinal Medal.
“We simply were trying to brighten her day and at the same time, show her our sincere appreciation for the many years of support she has given to the Bobcats,” said Jason Herring, head coach and athletic director.
Harvey came to Refugio in 1951 from Hebbronville. That year, she attended her first Bobcat game at the old stadium on U.S. 77.
“I watched Jack Sportsman play in that stadium and he was a good player,” she said. “He was a good friend.”
She’s been hooked on Bobcat football every since.
After losing her husband, Don “Buster” Harvey, in 1993, she began to go to the games with a group of friends — Lynn Daniels, Shirley Baucum, Jean Teal, Nema Olle. The ladies began to wear matching outfits in black and orange, the Bobcat colors.
“Each year, we’d add a new one,” Harvey said.
At a game in Corpus Christi, someone came up to them and asked about their matching clothes.
“We call ourselves the Bobcat Grannies,” one of the ladies said.
A reporter from Corpus Christi came to Refugio, wrote a story on the grannies and the name stuck.
“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “We’d go early and stop and eat.”
Sometimes when the game was far away, they’d spend the night.
“I remember the game in Brownwood,” Harvey said. “It was so close, I just had to get away from the excitement.”
She went down below the stands to calm down.
“That was the most exhausting game of all I’ve been to,” she said. “The lead went back and forth but we won.”
“Mrs. Harvey is not a fair weather fan,” said Todd Deaver, RHS principal. “She comes to the games, doesn’t matter whether we’re picked to win or lose. She’s a great lady.”
She’s watched many good players through the years but won’t choose a favorite. She said she likes them all, enjoys the tradition, the good sportsmanship and the way the team never gives up. However, one of the standouts is Willie Mack Garza.
“He was so friendly and nice to everybody,” she said.
She’s watched seasons come and go but one thing remains constant.
“I’ve never blamed our boys for losing a game,” she said.
In August, just about the time the new season begins, she will turn 100. If, by now, there are any fans who have not yet met Mrs. Harvey, she will be easy to spot. She’ll be dressed in orange and black and there’ll be a state semifinal medal around her neck.