Richard and Judy Epp

Epps to receive honorary degree

Fri Apr 30, 2021

In recognition of their contributions to the community and Colby Community College, Richard and Judy Epp have been selected to receive the 2021 Honorary Associate Degree.

Rich and Judy are natives of northwest Kansas. Rich grew up in Mingo and attended Colby Public Schools before graduating from Berean Academy in Elbing. Raised in Oberlin, Judy is an alumna of Decatur Community High School and attended Fort Hays State University. Rich was part of CCC's first radio class and was instrumental in putting the college's station KTCC on the air. A few months after graduating in 1971, he and Judy married in Oberlin. They began their life together in Goodland, where Rich worked at KLOE radio and TV as a sports broadcaster, sales executive, and news and weather anchor.

The Epps would go on to have many adventures while making stops in Colby. In 1978, they moved to Catlin, Ill., when Rich was hired to be the voice of the University of Illinois football and basketball broadcasts. Later, they returned to Colby to own and operate the Cobblestone Restaurant. After living in Alliance, Neb., for a year as Rich managed radio station KCOW, they relocated to Topeka in 1988 so he could serve as press secretary for Gov. Mike Hayden. In 1991, Rich returned to radio sales and sports at KTPK in Topeka and did sideline reports for the K-State Network.

They made their final move to Colby in 1993 when Rich became sales manager at KLBY TV. The couple then started marketing and sports broadcasting company J&R Marketing that brought concerts to Colby, including Jerry Lee Lewis, The Oakridge Boys, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Diamond Rio, and many southern gospel acts. In 2008, Rich and Judy launched Open Spaces Sports, which today streams more live sports than any entity in Kansas. 

In between, the Epps have made their marks along the way. Judy served in the Zi Zeta Zeta sorority. Rich was a member of the Colby Chamber of Commerce board. In his 50-year career spanning more than 10,000 broadcasts, Rich has collected numerous accolades. Most notably, the Oscar Stauffer Sportscaster of the Year Award from the Kansas State High School Activities Association and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters' Hod Humiston Award, given to a Kansas broadcaster making significant contributions to the field of sports broadcasting as well as work in the community. For many years, Rich has been the voice of the Colby Eagles and Colby Trojans while he and Judy opened their home to several college students.

"We have been able to host over 25 CCC athletes that are still a part of our family," said Judy.

The Epps belong to the Berean Bible Fellowship Church and are active in many areas, especially missions. They have five children—Paul Jackson (Leah) of Kansas City, Kacy Griffin (Jim) of Colby, Kristi Epp of Newton, Keni (Vanessa) of New York City, N.Y., and Kody (Kelsey) of Hoxie. The couple also enjoys eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"We have been truly blessed to have lived in Western Kansas for most of our married lives and raised our kids here," Rich added.

A committee of college employees chooses recipients of the honorary degree, which will be conferred during commencement at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 14, in the Colby Community Building. The event can be seen live at OpenSpacesSports.com.

Richard and Judy Epp