New Big MO bass drum breaks records

The drum is set to debut at Homecoming, Oct. 15.
The Big MO Foundation has found an even larger replacement for the famous marching bass drum, Big MO. It will debut at the Homecoming game Oct. 15. Courtesy Photo from The Big MO Foundation

The Big MO Foundation has secured a replacement for the giant bass drum that revs up MU fans during home football games.

With a 9-foot diameter and a 54-inch width, the new Big MO is the largest of the college football bass drums. The drum will be run down Faurot Field and then beaten from the end zone during pre-game and for Tiger touchdowns.  

Will Bryan, David Champlin and Adam Rau are members of the Big MO Foundation, an organization working to fundraise for Big MO's replacement.  Bryan is an active member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and Chaplin and Rau are both alumni of Marching Mizzou, as well as Big MO crew members. 

"Our goal is to keep a university tradition alive and unveil college football's biggest drum for our 100th homecoming," Rau said. 

The gameplan calls for the drum's christening to occur at the Oct. 15 centennial Homecoming game against Iowa State. 

Members of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma hold responsibility of Big MO and are involved with the fundraising efforts.

"It's a part of the tradition of fanfare that is Mizzou football and the gameday experience for about 40 years now, and we started to realize that if nothing was done about the condition of the drum now, that it may not be around for very much longer," Bryan said. 

Several people vied for improvements or a replacement of the original Big MO, including Big MO crew members John Shetley and Champlin, Marching Mizzou Director Brad Snow and former Associate Director of Bands Michael Knight. 

The Missouri Students Association, the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee and the Parents Leadership Council contributed most of the funds to purchase the new Big MO.

Crew members said private donations also play an essential role in the fundraising.  

"A lot of work was done through word of mouth," Bryan said, "Basically, people talked about it and thought, 'That's cool, how can I help out?'" 

To inspire contributions, the original Big MO was taken tailgating before football games. Fans took pictures, hit the drum and donated to the cause. 

Neil Boumpani of the Boumpani Music Company in Barnesville, Ga., custom-made the new Big MO. The California-based company Remo produced the drumheads and Iowa-based Featherlite made a specialty trailer. 

Rau said the custom aluminum trailer will have bob-sled inspired push bars on its sides and a wagon tongue and wheelie bars on the front and back to keep it from tipping over. 

"It'll actually be too big to take on the road, so we'll just be able to pull it through campus and maybe to the Homecoming parade," Champlin said. 

Alumni or members of Kappa Kappa Psi normally hold the responsibility of transporting the drum and hitting Big MO during games. Especially now that the drum has increased in weight and mass, being bigger, faster and stronger are necessary physical requirements. 

"We'd like to give a special thanks to all the organizations that have helped out in this endeavor so far, especially the support of the athletics department and the support of the school of music, because without them, we wouldn't have had the guidance to go ahead with this," Champlin said. "They've been great." 

The Big MO Foundation is still in the act of fundraising to bring Big MO home, and needs help from Tiger fans. Donations can be contributed through a PayPal system on their website.

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