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  • Writer's picturePana Sports Foundation

Ken “Moose” Bland (Class of 1979) - 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

Ken “Moose” Bland was voted Most Popular, Best Build, and Most Handsome by his 1979 classmates. However, he excelled the most on the football field and in track & field.

Moose earned seven varsity letters while attending Pana High School. He was the co-captain of the football team his senior year and was named a Second Team All-Conference linebacker. Ken was a three-year starter at the halfback position, and two-year starter as a linebacker. He was the leading scorer and rusher as a junior, and lead tackler his senior year. Moose only played basketball during his junior and senior year. He was a starter his last year and earned the award of “Mr. Hustle.”

Ken is another all-around athlete who excelled most in track & field as a discus thrower and shot putter. As a discus thrower, he was a District Champion in 1978 and a state qualifier in 1979. As a shot putter, Moose garnered 1st Place in every meet except the state meet where he finished in 5th Place in both 1978 and 1979.

These are the track meets where he won the shot put event: Effingham Relays – 1977; Christian County Track Meet – 1977, 1978, 1979; Mid-State Conference Meet – 1978, 1979; Altamont Open – 1978, 1979; Mt. Olive – 1979; Glenwood Invitational – 1979; Gillespie Invitational – 1978, 1979; ISU Joe Cogdal Relays – 1979; Pana Open – 1979. Ken was best in the area for both The State Journal-Register and Decatur Herald & Review as well. Moose set the PHS shot put record his sophomore year (51’ ½”), junior year (53’ 7 ½”), and senior year (56’ 4 ½”). All these records still stand!

Ken was recruited by Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Benedictine College, Loras College, Eastern Michigan University, and the US Military Academy at West Point for track & field. Millikin University pursued him for football and track & field. Moose was also invited to Alpine-Bavarian Track & Field Tour in Europe in 1979.

Ken chose not to attend college after graduation. Instead, he started working for Bland Concrete Construction, using his God-given strength and abilities at a profession to which he is still proud to be involved with. Currently, he is the concrete Superintendent at Christy-Foltz Inc. in Decatur. After being associated with the building of forty-one Walmart stores in the Midwest, Devon Amphitheater in Decatur, Capital Avenue in Springfield Streetscape and Revitalization Project, and numerous residential and commercial projects locally and in the area, Ken still loves what he does!

Ken’s faith and family have always been the biggest part of his adult life. He has always been very involved with music, youth, and children’s ministries, in addition to being a board member of his church. He also volunteered as the Pana Boy Scout Troop 99 leader for seven years. Ken volunteers with Pana Pride on various projects.

While helping young people, Ken was a personal shot put coach (5 years) for Daniel Lucas, a family friend. Daniel, a 2022 Cowden-Herrick graduate and school recordholder at 60’ 83/8”, also won the IHSA Class 1A State Championship in 2021 and 2022.

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