Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oregon 1A Football Playoffs at the Rodeo Grounds

It’s a small western Oregon farming community of 360 people…a high school with an enrollment of only 72 students. Yet every year the town of St. Paul, Oregon shows its support of the St. Paul High School 8-man football team by providing a newly planted field in the town’s center stage, the St. Paul Rodeo Grounds.

Home to one of Oregon’s largest rodeo events held each 4th of July, the St. Paul Rodeo grounds is also the home field for the St. Paul Buckaroos 8-man football team. Shortly after the last bronco has bucked off the last rodeo contestant, a small troop of volunteers begin work building a football field in the middle of the rodeo grounds in preparation of the upcoming fall football games for St. Paul High using donated seed from the local Oregon grass seed farmers. The 10,000 seat arena provides more than ample seating and is perhaps the most unique home field for an 8-man football team anywhere in the nation.

After the fall football season, the troop of volunteers moves in and tear up the arena grounds in preparation of the biggest hoedown in Western Oregon. Year-after-year, the cycle has continued…plant a field…play football…then tear it up and host the rodeo. It is a great show of community support appreciated by present and past student athletes of St. Paul High School.

These photos are of St. Paul’s second round OSAA 1A 8-man football playoff game against Joseph High School from Northeastern Oregon. St. Paul’s pristine field holds up most the season, but as playoffs roll around in mid-November, the Oregon rains weaken the temporary turf and a good ol’ fashion mud bowl creates a challenge for both teams. Joseph’s 250 mile trek back to Eastern Oregon was a lot more bearable as their 32-6 victory spoiled the home team’s hopes of advancing to round three of the playoffs.