When the football team at Ashland-Greenwood (Neb.) High School began experiencing technical difficulties with the sound equipment available to them during their practices, Head Coach Ryan Thompson needed a solution—and fast. The track complex where the high school holds its football practices was outfitted with a less-than-ideal speaker system, causing issues during drills. Both players and coaches had trouble hearing the segment timer meant to keep everyone on track over the course of each session, and if the poor sound quality wasn’t enough, access to the system was almost always inconvenient.
“We run a segment timer through an app on our phones, which prevents coaches from having to check their watches every five minutes or so to make sure we were on the right segment,” explains Thompson. “We had no Bluetooth capability at the time, so when things went wrong, like the app closing or the speaker sounding distorted, we’d have to send a coach up there to fiddle with it.
“We also tried a segment timer on a portable scoreboard, but it just didn’t really fit what we were doing with the amount of space we were working with,” Thompson continues. “Plus, you still couldn’t hear the segment timer well. Those instances were eating up a lot of valuable minutes at our practices.”
Now, Thompson says he and his staff have been able to avoid these headaches after purchasing the Bigfoot Sound System by Anchor Audio in 2017. “We’re able to have it right there by us, turn it on, let it go, and we can go about practice. It definitely is an upgrade from what we previously had,” Thompson says. “Our players love it because they know they’re going to get to hear something at practice other than distortion. And our coaches like it for the fact that we’re able to hook everything up and go, instead of having to worry about technical difficulties.” The Bigfoot Sound System features 130 decibels of clear sound and is backed by a rated power output of 300 Watts AC/DC, making it an industry first and the most powerful portable speaker on the market. “The sound quality is just amazing. I don’t know how high we’ve really had to turn it up, but you can definitely hear everything crisp and clear through the speakers,” says Thompson. “We’re now able to play music during our practices as well, which has turned into the number one thing we use it for.”
However, that’s not all that Thompson and his football team enjoy about using the Bigfoot. “It comes with a great frame that is very durable and makes it easy to move around with its wheels, and it folds down and stores away easily,” Thompson says. “And the Bluetooth access is absolutely top notch. It’s an essential piece that we just love with the amount of movement we do and coaches wanting to switch things up.”
Athletic administrators at Ashland- Greenwood were on board from the start, knowing that investing in a Bigfoot Sound System would benefit the entire school—not just football. “They knew this speaker would be used for more than sports alone and enhance other events as well,” says Thompson, who also serves as the high school’s Assistant Track Coach. “It has been used at pep rallies and assemblies, during back-to-school time, and at cross country meets that we host. It’s also been used by different youth camps, including football, volleyball, basketball, and wrestling.”
The Bigfoot’s microphone capability was another added bonus as far as school administrators were concerned. “Our school loves that because they don’t have to be carrying out extra
microphones and pieces every time there is an assembly or other type of event. It’s all stored right inside the back of the Bigfoot’s frame,” says Thompson. “I know when other groups in our school are able to use it, they definitely love the Bluetooth feature, and the portability is a plus for them.” Any school group that lands their hands on the Bigfoot Sound System follows the same protocol for proper care that the football team does. “Every night, we take it back into the school and charge it. It has a great battery life, and you can definitely use it a few days in a row without it going on you, but we just charge it to get into a routine,” says Thompson. “And even though we deal with high school kids, we have a coach or adult handle it each day. We feel that to keep it running the best and in proper use that the adults need to be taking care of it.”
Thompson is confident that Anchor Audio products can also deliver positive results to any teams, regardless of sport, with similar needs. “It was seamless when we began working with Anchor Audio, and it’s been a great experience,” he says. “They do a great job taking care of their customers and supporting their products. Any questions we’ve ever had have been answered in a timely manner.”