After 28 Years – The Microphone Changes Hands as a New Voice of the Panthers Emerges!
Hershey Barnett is named 2019 HoCo Parade Grand Marshall, and a special retirement recognition will take place on Homecoming night at 6:45 pm at Lytal Field.
For close to three decades, 28 years to be exact, the Voice of the Panthers, Judge Hershey Barnett, has enlightened Panther fans young and old by announcing QISD Panther football games. This year, Judge Barnett is retiring from the press box and has turned the microphone over to Earnest (Sonny) Upchurch. Judge Barnett explains that this decision was tough. “I have always loved being able to call Panther football. I am a Panthers Forever football fan. This year, I will go and watch my grandson and great-grandson play ball. They are on the same team playing for Dallas Christian School,” he said.
Quinlan ISD is proud to honor Barnett’s years of service and is honored to announce that he is the 2019 Homecoming Parade Grand Marshal. A retirement presentation is on September 27, 2019, at 6:45 pm at Lytal Field. Everyone is invited to wish him a Panther Farewell.
When Hershey first began his journey as the Voice of the Panthers, his wife, Margaret, joined him as his spotter. She remained in her position until 2012 when his friend, Ron Ramsey stepped-in to help him spot plays. “It was a family affair for Margaret and me. For many years, our quality time was sitting side-by-side at Lytal Field announcing games every Thursday and Friday night during football season. I also am thankful to Ron for all his years. He has been by my side a long time,” said Barnett.
Highlights and remembrances through the years include when Dustin McClintock played for the Panthers, and the team went to the district championship in 1994-95. He has fond memories of his grandson playing on the Lytal field in the ’90s as well. It was exciting watching all of the teams play ball. Barnett built strong and lasting relationships with coaches and players on every side. “Everyone has been wonderful. I love football no matter who is playing,” he said. Also, he remembers winning, or paying, for the chance to lead the Panthers onto the football field and to flip the coin to start the game. “That only cost me about $500 for that memory, but it is a memory that will last me a lifetime,” said Barnett.
Judge Hershey Barnett has held many positions in the community over the years. He retired from the Dallas Police Department after 25 years of service. “My claim to fame was guarding President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at the hospital in 1963 upon his untimely death. I transported Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson to Love Field to be sworn in as the next President of the United States of America. What an amazing experience I will always cherish,” he said. Since retiring from the Dallas PD and moving to Quinlan and Lake Tawakoni, he served as the Quinlan Police Chief, Municipal Judge for Quinlan, West Tawakoni, and Point, and Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 for multiple years. Also, he is a leader in his church, and in charitable groups such as the Vice President of Fundraising for the Quinlan ISD Education Foundation.
Earnest (Sonny) Upchurch is poised to take over the Voice of the Panthers. Judge Barnett explains, “Sonny will bring new and vibrant energy to the game, and he’s a good friend of mine who shares an avid love for Panther football.” Upchurch goes on to say, “I grew up listening to Hershey. I have big shoes to fill. I do love this team and this school. I also grew up watching the Panthers, and my father, Earnest L. Upchurch, Sr., is the most ultimate Panther Fan I will ever know. I remember him being the lead man in the stands when the teams needed some firing-up and not just in high school games, but in QSA games as well. Daddy would enthusiastically fire-up the entire stadium like no one I’ve ever seen before or since. He had no shame in his loud and proud Panther game. It stuck with me. He was so much fun to watch, and I am a Forever Panther fan because of him,” he said.
Sonny Upchurch is a local business owner and realtor at Century 21, Upchurch Real Estate, following in his father’s footsteps. Also, Sonny is an active community member who volunteers in several organizations. He is involved in the Masonic Trestle Board Lodge and the board of the Lake Tawakoni Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also served the Quinlan Sports Association for many years. Quinlan ISD is proud to present Sonny Upchurch as the new “Voice of the Panthers.”
Source: Quinlan ISD