If you have been to a Butler basketball game, in say, the last eight years or so, chances are you’ve sampled Lori Showley’s famous Bulldog Droppings.
That’s because she has researched the ins and outs of most arenas in America, and how precisely to sneak the two to three batches of her chocolately-peanuty treat into the game. Since Showley started mass producing what she says she has become famous for, arenas have become more secure. So, she’s simply gotten more creative. In some places, she hides the Droppings under her pompoms. Other times, she hands them out in the hotel lobby – that is easiest, she says.
But then, there was Maui.
There is an exact science to making Bulldog Droppings. There are three different kinds of chocolate and peanuts, all mixed together in a crockpot, cooking on low for three hours, Showley explains. Traveling to Maui to watch Butler play does not lend itself well to making Bulldog Droppings. But tradition is tradition. “I found a fan who had a friend who lived in Maui, believe it or not. I borrowed her crockpot and set it up in my hotel room,” Showley says. “Well, when you cook it on low for three hours, my room was smelling like Hershey, Pennsylvania and I almost got evicted. I quickly had to put everything away and clean up all the evidence before hotel staff came in to check out what was going on.” Before tip-off in Maui, though, there was Showley, outside the arena handing out Bulldog Droppings. It was too hot, she said, to try and sneak the treats into the arena. So, she put bags of ice underneath the packages so they wouldn’t melt outside and handed them out to Butler fans.
“It’s my claim to fame,” she says. “If I don’t do it, everyone is upset. We are all a family, even if we have never met. What makes these games so fun is the tradition and the comradery that is formed over the years among Butler fans. I venture to guess this doesn’t happen at a lot of schools. People just fall in love with Butler.”
Showley, a 1974 Butler graduate, will be in Detroit, Michigan on Friday afternoon when No.10 Butler takes on No.7 Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Bulldog Droppings and all. She will be making the drive with her husband Thursday morning, who is recovering from rotator cuff surgery. But, as Showley explains, they already had to miss the Big East Tournament because of the surgery, so enough was enough.
Showley’s son, who graduated from Purdue, will be meeting them at the game, driving to Detroit from Ohio, but with strict directions. “He is welcome to sit with us, but only if he has his Butler gear on,” she says. “Otherwise we will just be waving to him.”
There is a group of about 12 that Showley says will be meeting up in Detroit and has been meeting up all over the country to watch their beloved Bulldogs, for the most part, since 2008.
Mary Shaw starts to tick off the various destinations the crew has been to. There was San Jose, Milwaukee, Greensboro, Portland, Memphis, says Shaw, who ran point for the Butler women’s basketball team from 1989 to 1993 and has been meeting up with Showley’s group since about 2010. Shaw will drive to Detroit with her husband, brother-in-law, and Xandra Hamilton, another member of the group who has been going to games for “forever,” Shaw says.
Nadine Treon calls them the Butler Groupies. Treon started going to Butler games with her dad in 2000. Her dad was a Butler graduate and Treon got her MBA from Butler in 2006. For Treon, Hinkle Fieldhouse always makes her think of her dad. After he passed away, she took over his season ticket package in 2006-07. She loves basketball, but Butler games mean so much more to her than just hoops. When Treon starts talking about Butler basketball, the memories start rolling off her tongue. There was the time she watched Darnell Archey’s consecutive free throw streak end. Then the time Archey hit 8-9 three pointers in the Sweet 16 against Louisville.
“I always think of my dad when I am going to a game,” she says. “It is pretty special every year. When I go to the first game, I think of him. There is so much history for me personally.”
This year was unique for Treon. She has been on the road in New Jersey for work since July, so she has been unable to watch Butler in person as much as past seasons.
“But once March rolled around, I was totally excited for that,” Treon says. “I will fly to Detroit and meet the gang out there and when we win this weekend, I will start making plans for Boston.”
And you better believe, they’ll be enjoying Lori Showley’s Bulldog Droppings at every stop along the way.
Photo Credits: Lori Showley