Ozarks town turns phrase into rallying cry

BUFFALO, Mo. -- "Bison Pride: Let's Go Buffalo" signs can be found all across the city of Buffalo. But, those signs - and that pride - are relatively new.

"In general, what I noticed when I got here was people liked to complain about the schools, the city, the county, all of the public organizations in Dallas County," said Dallas County R-I School District Superintendent Tim Ryan.

Ryan says the cultural change in the town happened within the last five years.

So, community and school leaders came up with a mantra.

"You'll drive up and down the street in Buffalo and you'll see signs out that say "Believe in Buffalo." People have really rallied behind their belief that we can succeed and we can be successful," Ryan said.

The school improved its football field and track, put in individual seats on the home bleachers, placed new brick on the facade of the high school, and convinced voters to approve paying more taxes toward the district and county in the same election.

That extra money will go toward building a brand new technical center on the school's campus.

All that work seems to be working, as the city won an award in 2018 for bettering the community.

"This next Monday, Buffalo is a finalist for Missouri Community Betterment Community of the Year for a second year in a row," Ryan noted. "So, all those things have really shown that things have improved over time and gotten a lot better, and people really, truly believe in their own community."

The people of Buffalo seem to agree.

"I'm definitely proud of the things they've accomplished the last few years for sure," said Travis Savage of Buffalo. "They seem to be focusing on the kids, and that's something they really need."