CHEROKEE, Iowa (KTIV) — Kenny Bern has been going to Cherokee athletic events since 1940. He’ll be back in his same old spot for this game, under the shade tree. But for the first time he’ll be watching a game on a field named after him. The very first game on Kenny Bern Field.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Bern. “Now they won’t have to drag the field and water. There won’t be dust flying all over the infield.”
“He’s the staple of it. He goes back a long way watching Cherokee athletics,” said Cherokee head coach Cory Ege. “Personally I was fortunate enough to play here and seeing him at every game means a lot. He’s always got a smile on his face.”
“I’ll be the proudest man up here. I’ll probably sleep well tonight,” added Bern. “I wouldn’t give it up for nothing.”
There probably isn’t a fan in Iowa who’s been to more games than this 92-year-old. He’s attended every state basketball tournament since 1946 and hasn’t missed the state football playoffs since they started in 1972.
“I can’t believe how my life has went,” said Bern. “The people, they’ll just bend over backwards for you. Last month was my birthday and it was unbelievable. I’ve always said I’m just as proud of that kid at the end of the bench as I am the star of the team. They all come to me. It’s a great feeling to have them come up and hug you after the game or pat you on the shoulder going to the game.”
The new turn field started with a price tag of around $225,000. But for Kenny you can’t put a price on the memories.
“You can’t beat these kids,” said Bern. “I couldn’t tell you how many are going to come up here and give me a hug. They come running and give me a hug and away they go.”
“We’re super excited to have him be able to watch on this field for him,” said Ege. “Win or lose we’re going to give it our darnest and play hard and they kids want to do it for him.”