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'Bill the Beerman' Brought Cheer to Seattle

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'Bill the Beerman' Brought Cheer to Seattle

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'Bill the Beerman' Brought Cheer to Seattle

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Anyone who ever went to a Seattle Seahawks or Mariners game in the '70s, '80s or early '90s usually caught a glimpse or an earful of Bill Scott, who was more familiarly known as Bill the Beer Man.

Mr. BILL SCOTT (Bill the Beer Man): Freeze your teeth, (unintelligible) sleigh ride, ice cold bubbly, bubbly, bubbly. If you've got something somebody else wants, even though you live in the wilderness, the world will beat a path to your door. Of course advertising helps. I've got cold beer.

SIMON: Bill Scott died this past Sunday at the age of 58 from complications of colon cancer. He grew up in the Seattle area and for more than 20 years he led raucous cheers at the Kingdome. We've called Ken Wilson, one of his early fans. He joins us from Green Valley, Arizona. Mr. Wilson, thanks very much for being with us.

Mr. KEN WILSON (Fan): Well, thanks for having me.

SIMON: What was his act like?

Mr. WILSON: Everything he did would get people involved and actually cheering. You know, some people questioned it, but I'm pretty sure that Bill was the guy that actually invented the wave. A lot of times, he'd just get one section that would compete with another section clear across the stadium. You know, he'd come by and say, listen to me, I'm going to be over here on the other side and when I get over there I want you to do this, and he'd have some special cheer to do, and then he'd go over there and he'd do the same thing to that crowd and basically get them going back and forth. Before you know it, he had the whole stadium going.

SIMON: Was he that big a fan? I know that sounds strange but he was at this for 30 years.

Mr. WILSON: You know, he got such an enjoyment out of seeing people that normally would just be sitting down. And, you know, in today's world in pro sports, you know, you go to a game, it's a highly choreographed entertainment event. What Bill did is he, you know, he liked to call himself the conductor of synergy and he helped people understand that it's okay to cheer and it's okay to do some weird obnoxious yell for a team and have fun just cheering.

SIMON: What about his life off the field?

Mr. WILSON: Bill was a single father. He then remarried. He talked often about his family, about his kids. You know, Bill was a pretty well informed guy. He had opinions about a lot of things, and it wasn't just all about sports. And he was a very religious man. But I think he became really addicted to the fans and the cheering.

SIMON: He had cancer these passed few years.

Mr. WILSON: You know, those last couple of years, he really, well, last year particularly, his voice just couldn't carry it anymore, just with the cancer, but he's definitely one that is one of a kind and I just don't think you'll ever see anybody like him again at any sporting event.

SIMON: Mr. Wilson, thanks so much.

Mr. WILSON: Thank you.

SIMON: Ken Wilson, speaking to us about his friend, the late Bill Scott, otherwise known as Bill the Beer Man.

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