By J.O. Parker
Rex and Barb Baker are on time and scoring big for the Montezuma sports program.
No matter if it’s a basketball, football, volleyball or softball game, a wrestling meet or track and field race, the Baker duo can usually be found at the scorer’s table or on the sideline keeping tabs at the event.
“We absolutely love doing it,” said Barb.
The couple got their start keeping the scorebook and running the clock at their son, Matt’s, AAU Basketball games in 2008. Barb said the school needed parents for these duties and they volunteered. “Things kind of took off from there,” she said.
But it wasn’t until the couple’s daughter, Megan, was a freshman at Montezuma (2012-13), when keeping score and time became a second part-time job.
That year, Barb started doing the scorebook as a fill-in when needed. Rex started announcing the home games that same year, and also started running the clock and scoreboard as a fill-in.
“That led us to volunteering to do as many events as the school would let us do,” said Barb.
When asked how many hours they put in during an average week, Barb said it is hard to say.
“It all depends on how many events are on the schedule for that week,” she said, citing a recent week where the couple volunteered at basketball games on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“We were at all of them, as Barb does the scorebook for both home and away games,” noted Rex. “We also do the school’s JV games whenever we can (when they aren’t playing at the same time as the varsity), and that can result in games four out of five nights of the week.”
The duo has a number of responsibilities at the various events and following is a breakdown of each sport they work.
Football: Rex runs the clock and scoreboard for JV, and Barb is his spotter for down and distance. Rex runs the play clock for varsity football, and fills in on the game clock and scoreboard when needed.
Volleyball: Barb does the scorebook and Rex does the scoreboard and the announcing.
Basketball: Barb does the scorebook for JV and Varsity home and away games, and Rex does the clock and scoreboard for JV and Varsity and announcing for Varsity home games.
Wrestling: Rex does the scoreboard when needed as a fill-in.
Track: Barb enters the event results into the computer and organizes the medal packages for the teams. Rex announces.
Softball: Barb does the scorebook for Varsity home and away, and Rex does the scoreboard, announcing and music for home Varsity and JV.
Fan of the Game
The Baker’s volunteerism earned them the Iowa Farm Bureau Fan of the Game honor, which was presented during halftime of a Montezuma game at the 2019 Boys’ High School Basketball State Tournament. Participating schools are asked to pick someone from their community that is deserving of the honor and the Baker’s were chosen.
“We were extremely humbled and honored to be chosen for this award by our school, especially when there are so many others deserving of the award as well,” noted Rex. “Montezuma is truly a special place.”
"I can't say enough positive things about Rex and Barb,” said Montezuma Coach Derrick Dengler. “To have people like them in this community is tremendous. They are so selfless, they make all of us who work on the athletic/activities side so thankful, because of how much easier they make our jobs. Very fun to work with, very kind and respectful, certainly the type of people who help make small communities like ours special.”
“The Bakers are amazing, selfless people who we truly appreciate at Montezuma,” said Montezuma Coach Janel Burgess. “ They are part of our Bravettes Family! Rex and Barb are always willing to volunteer in any capacity. They make our student-athletes feel appreciated and we are so blessed they are part of the Montezuma Community!”
Outside of the awards, honors and pats on the back, the couple appreciates and thanks the coaches, the kids, the parents and school district for the opportunity to work the games.
“We love being a part of the programs at Montezuma, and being around the kids,” said Barb. “Our children both graduated from Montezuma, but just as we did when they were still in school, we consider all of the young people that we get to be around ‘our kids.’ It keeps us young!”
When not volunteering at the school, Rex spends his days working as an accountant at Grinnell Mutual. Barb babysits for Josh and Taryn Anderson and serves on the Montezuma Library Board. The couple is also active members of the Blue and White Booster Club.
The couple’s daughter, Megan, is teaching middle school special education at Oskaloosa and son, Matt, is currently at UNI majoring in marketing and management. He will graduate in December.
“We don’t do what we do for recognition, we do it because we love it, and we love being around the kids, coaches and parents,” said Barb. “It’s family.”