- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2011

OMAHA, NEB. (AP) - “Gideon the Hippie Minister” returned for another visit to the College World Series, and members of a nearby church are glad he did.

Texas Longhorns fan Peter Manry, an ordained minister, has attended almost all the games here since the late 1980s.

He makes the 900-mile drive from his Houston home with his dog, Bonnie, and each year he donates thousands of T-shirts he brings along to the First Christian Church in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Most shirts are leftovers from Houston-area road races. Local missions can’t use the shirts, Manry said, and many are sold as rags.

“We take them to somebody that needs a change of clothes,” he said.

Manry’s trip is always timed around the CWS. This year’s a bonus. His Longhorns and rival Texas A&M Aggies are here.

“We always come up, whether the team comes or not, to bring a little Texas flavor,” he said. “It’s really special. But we have fun either way.”

Manry, 58, quickly developed friends since making his initial 1989 visit. In his younger days, he earned his nickname because of his long hair and hippie lifestyle. Even today, he answers to “gideon.” He prefers not to use a capital ‘g.’

“My first year here I was introduced to about 15 different people that had been coming every year for 30 years,” he said. “Now I’m one of those people. There are hundreds of people that come looking for me every year.”

This year’s trip to Omaha had one hurdle. Because of Missouri River flooding, Manry had to detour off Interstate 29 near the Missouri-Iowa border. He finished the journey on U.S. Highway 75.

One year, Manry returned home via Highway 75, which runs all the way to Houston, and enjoyed visiting with folks during stops in small towns.

“It’s very interesting when people ask me where I’m going for my vacation and I say Omaha,” he said. “People don’t realize Omaha was a vacation spot, but it really is.

“It’s lovely, people are nice. The series is awesome. It’s good old-fashioned baseball.”


PROUD CAL DAD: Sunday was an extra special Father’s Day for Roy Johnson. He got to watch his son Erik pitch California’s CWS opener against Virginia.

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