LOS ANGELES – Recently, the 2015 “What A Fan Awards” wrapped up its third year honoring dedicated, devoted fans for their contribution to sports. The Award Show is the world’s only event of its kind – it was created in 2013 specifically to recognize passionate fanatics in all genres of both professional and collegiate sports. Held in Orlando, Fla., for the last three years, the event has provided recognition for some of the most visible fans ins ports. There are several categories fans can be nominated for which include the four major leagues, soccer, NASCAR, college football and basketball.
Additionally there’s an American Sports Icon Award which both Dick Vitale and Muhammad Ali have won, an online media and sports video parodies category just to name a few. The show has been moved to Los Angeles, Calif., beginning July 2016 and will be held the same week of the ESPYs.
Larry “Buckeyeman” Lokai is a longtime Ohio State University super fan, and he was recently named NCAA Fan of the Year at the “What A Fan Awards.” He’s almost as recognizable as many of the outstanding athletes that have played for the university dating back to 1957. He’s not only a dedicated, devoted fan, he’s been part of their history. Through the lean years of disappointing losing seasons to the championship run, Buckeyeman has seen it all.
Lokai is a retired teacher and truly understands the value of giving back and has been a community servant touching the lives of countless individuals. Fans can be an invaluable part of any organization. The charitable events and fundraising events Lokai has been part of are too many to mention. We caught up to Lokai after his big win to get his thoughts, here’s what he told us.
How did you feel when you found out you had won the “What A Fan Award” for your years of devotion to a sport and team you love?
Buckeyeman: I feel like I’m walking on cloud nine and a very proud OSU fan and thankful for everyone involved in the last 18 years of being Buckeyeman. This was truly a wonderful honor and holds a special place in my heart.
You’re now part of the historic foundation of the world’s only recognition award show for sports fans. What does that mean to you?
Buckeyeman: It was quite an honor to be selected as the NCAA Fan of the Year when so many excellent fans applied. After looking at some of the candidates I felt very humbled to know that my involvement meant that much to the committee when I operate on a very low budget. Although I was unable to attend the event due to a football game for Ohio State, I felt quite honored and special to think that What-A-Fan would have the committee select me as the winner of the division. The trophy will go in my office and in a special place that I can show my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, what an honor I was able to receive from What-A-Fan in 2015 and each time we have a family function I can thank my family for allowing me to be a part of such a program. As once stated … people may forget what you said … people may forget what you did … but people never forget how you make them feel.
For additional information regarding the What A Fan Awards, visit the website at www.whatafanshow.com.
Originally ran in The Springfield Paper. From a press release from the What A Fan organization.