Sharing a Father's Lesson
Distinguished Service Award recipient Vance DeLozier follows the example of giving back.
"When I took over ownership of KOKO, the local radio station did not own the rights to broadcast university games. That drove me crazy," DeLozier said. His determination and love for Mules and Jennies sports eventually paid off with the station purchasing the rights to broadcast UCM sports.
DeLozier's keen business sense and strong work ethic are perhaps other qualities he learned from his parents at an early age. When the DeLozier family moved from Clinton to Warrensburg, the small family restaurant, Tracy's Diner, went with them, locating at a site east of what was then the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 13.There, as early as five years old, young Vance was getting a taste of what it was like to run a business and the value of good customer service.
"I did about everything in a dining room a kid could do. If a five-year-old came out carrying five plates to a table, they'd give you a dollar," he said, remembering what a big deal a buck was to a kid in those days.
In addition to learning about business, while working at the diner, DeLozier developed an interest in music. His father gave him the old 45 rpm records that came off the diner's jukebox, which are now part of his collection of about 50,000 discs.
After college, he embarked on a new career as a part-owner of a radio station in Ashdown, Ark., where he worked from 1972-1975. He returned to Warrensburg in 1975 to work at KOKO-AM as a salesperson and on-air talent, a job he eventually left to start his own realty company, an industry in which his father had also been very successful. He continues to share his favorite tunes from yesterday with his award-winning program, "Ronn McKay's Forgotten Oldies of the Day," which airs five days a week on KOKO.
DeLozier is just as passionate about UCM as he is with his music. He said proudly, "When I go somewhere, I always take a UCM shirt, or sometimes a hat. It makes no difference where I am, even if I'm on a ship in the Caribbean, someone will come up to me and say, 'Central Missouri,' and we'll start a conversation. The mule is unique. It's recognizable all over the country."