Have you ever listened to one of our broadcast through the ending outro and wonder why we play “Happy Trails” the recorded version by Van Halen? Well the Late Tommy Sims (1958-2008) after our second broadcast of Chapman Panthers football in 2005 he shook his head and said “Dang it, I wanted to play Happy Trails when we signed off. “ The next week before we went on air I told Tommy I downloaded “Happy Trails” on my laptop and would play it as we signed off this week, it was the Pendleton game. Well we turned down our mics but sang along with it. We did that each and every week. When Chapman defeated Columbia for the 2007 Upper State Championship I threw him for a loop and played “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reid as the Panthers would be East Bound to Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia the following week for the State Championship game. As we signed off on ESPN Spartanburg we played “Happy Trails”, not sure if the listening Audience in Inman and Spartanburg could hear it as the Wofford Pre-Game was about to start, but it played in the Visitors Broadcast booth at Williams Brice. If I would’ve known that was the last sports broadcast Tommy and I would ever do together here on earth I would have sung a little louder. So for every Football game, Basketball Game, Baseball and Softball game I have broadcast since, I play “Happy Trails” because without Tommy Sims and Andy Rhinehart (SHJ) we would have never been broadcasting.
The below is what was in the 2008 programs at Chapman High School in Tommy’s Honor
This year the Chapman Panthers Football Internet broadcast is missing the centerpiece that was the play by play man, Tommy Sims. Tommy passed away on April 19th at the age of 50 and left a void in the hearts of his family, co-workers and friends. I worked with Tommy for 3 years; he was my friend and was like family. We worked together for three Football seasons, and I learned a lot about broadcasting football, enjoying life and the moment from Tommy. He quickly made me and anyone else who donned a headset sound professional on the air. As the 2007 Panthers rolled through the Upper State playoffs, Tommy would look at me and smile and say, “I am so happy for you guys, Chapman High and the Inman area community.” He was proud of Coach Farmer and his staff, each player and every Panther fan. He wanted as many names of the students as possible to be said on the air. Tommy was born a Clinton Red Devil and was proud of his Alma Mater. The past few years he became a proud member of the Chapman Panther Family. Tommy spent over 15 years working in Radio promoting High School Athletics. During his radio career he broadcast Union High Football, Baseball and Basketball, Jonesville Baseball, Hillcrest football, Woodruff Football, Chapman Football and Baseball. He spent 14 years co-hosting the Piedmont Pick Um Show which is devoted to High School Football which has been broadcast on ESPN 1400AM for the past 7 years. Tommy devoted many years supporting the youth of the upstate. Running youth programs, helping raise money, or broadcasting games was some of the many ways Tommy participated in athletics of the youth of the Upstate. He spent many years working for Spartan Custom and then ESPN 1400. He made the past 3 years enjoyable for those who listened on the Internet Broadcast and those he came in contact with during his time with the Chapman Broadcast.