They're rowdy ... they're crazy ... they're great. They're the KA Krazies. Oh, and they're shirtless, too, and covered in paint.
Heather Dunn started all this on a whim, a challenge to her co-worker at a local hamburger restaurant.
Dunn, the volleyball team’s starting setter, said UTA home matches needed an energy boost. Her friends bought some paint and gave her much more than that.
“They’re rowdy,” Dunn said. “They’re crazy … they’re great.”
They’re the KA Krazies—members of Kappa Alpha fraternity—and you can’t miss them once you enter Texas Hall. Nearly every home match they’re there, stationed on the auditorium floor, leaning into the raised court with an arsenal of signage and often-hilarious chants.
Oh, and they’re shirtless, too, and covered
Though Dunn and her teammates urged the KAs to go nuts, she never expected this. “I didn’t think they’d do the paint and all. I’d see them on campus and they’d say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be there tonight.’ But I didn’t even figure they’d show up. It’s cool that they’ve put so much effort into it.”
A match for the KA Krazies means nearly as much preparation as for the players themselves. For 30 minutes, they apply the body paint. Faces in blue and white. Bare chests that spell out M-A-V-S or, if they’re a man short, U-T-A.
That’s a lot of paint.
KA president James Applebury, the group’s ringleader, says he’s cleaned out two Garden Ridges, two Party Warehouses and three Wal-Marts. When the gang, which also includes Matthew Ziobro, Cody Ortega and random others, won a Halloween contest during a late-October match, the $100 prize money only bought more paint.
Hand-making their signs, which equally boast cheers for the UTA players and jabs at their opponents, takes another hour or so. “Pazo es Buena” for Lady Maverick Olaya Pazo, from Venezuela. “Pack Rat” for team standout Amber Pack. An opposing player who makes a mistake will get a sign that reads, “Scholarship Revoked.”
When UTA is two points from a victory, the Krazies waggle their keys and chant, “Warm up the bus.” Or you might hear, “Whose house? Mavs’ house!” or “Nip ’em, Mavs!”
And their business doesn’t end with the match. After a UTA victory, they tour the campus cheering wildly from the bed of a pickup truck.
So loyal are the KA Krazies, they missed only two home matches all season but atoned for the absences by attending the McNeese State regular-season finale Nov. 15 in Lake Charles, La., and the Southland Conference tournament a week later in Nacogdoches.
“We plan our events around the games,” said Applebury, a biological chemistry junior from Fort Worth, who emphasized that 10-12 KAs typically attend each match. “Our goal is to make opposing teams not want to come to Texas Hall.”
So much work for a 40-minute match. Then a 45-minute shower.
“We’re going to make this a KA tradition,” Applebury said. “And I hope it becomes a UTA tradition. We want to pack the place. We want everybody to see this team.”
Dunn said crowds at Texas Hall picked up noticeably after the KA Krazies began their show. “It seems like there were more people at every game,” she said. “Maybe they were coming to see them.”
– Danny Woodward