Navy veterans keep up 45-year tradition at NCAA tourney in Kansa - KCTV5

Navy veterans keep up 45-year tradition at NCAA tourney in Kansas City

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For all three gentlemen, it’s their first time in Kansas City and their first at a NCAA basketball tournament. (KCTV5) For all three gentlemen, it’s their first time in Kansas City and their first at a NCAA basketball tournament. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Thousands are expected to gather at No Other Pub to cheer on the University of Kansas on Thursday.

The bar is the location of the official watch party for the Jayhawks with a pregame party starting at 3 p.m.

Among the thousands of fans at KC Live! Thursday are four veterans who are trading their United States Naval Academy dinner in Washington D.C. to spend a weekend in Kansas City.

Jim Hillenmayer, John Harvey and Doug Hertel met at the Naval Academy 45 years ago and keep in touch, especially during basketball season. This year, they decided to turn in their black ties for some basketball tickets.

“We did that dinner for 25 years. We would go to the same black-tie-dinner every February and this is the first year in a long time we didn't do that dinner. We picked this as our next reunion,” Hillenmayer said. 

“What can go wrong in Kansas City right? What can possibly happen here? So this was a safe place,” Harvey said. "So this offered us an opportunity and we said we'd never been here before, Kansas City or the NCAA (tournament), and it's become such an event so we said let's go for it and see how it goes," Harvey said.

For all three gentlemen, it’s their first time in Kansas City and their first at a NCAA basketball tournament. None of their teams are playing this weekend, so the men say they’ll be rooting for the home team, Kansas.

And as a bonus, all three of the men’s wives approved of Kansas City.

Kansas tips-off against Purdue at 8:39 p.m.

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