Thirteen years ago, I moved from my hometown in Nebraska to a small city in Southern Colorado. I was chasing my high school boyfriend who had moved out here for college. Fast Forward more than a decade and I’ve not only married the high school boyfriend, but we have an awesome six year old daughter – Scribber!
After a four years as a truck driver and a nasty battle with depression, I finally learned to embrace my new home! It was an uphill battle, but at this point in my life I cannot imagine living anywhere other than this awesome little city! A little more than a year ago, one of my closest friends asked me to join her in running a local events website, All Things Pueblo, and I was thrilled to jump on board! Since then? I have spent as much time as possible experiencing local events and all the fun touristy things this area has to offer.
But one thing remained unchecked on my local bucket list! The Bell Game.
This little city is home to the oldest high school football rivalry west of the Mississippi. This Rivalry has been going on since 1892, with two local high schools battling for the trophy of an old railroad bell each fall. It doesn’t sound like much, but our city of nearly 100,000 people has 10,000 turn out for this annual battle! And this year, my neighbor and I decided we’d take our kiddos and join in the fun!
Now, I grew up in Nebraska during the Tom Osborne Era, where Football is akin to religion for many. So I am no stranger to football – one of my favorite things to do when I go home is attend a football game at Memorial Stadium, which seats 81,000 spectators and has sold out every home game since 1962. I didn’t really have a choice other than to be passionate about Football – especially when steeped in tradition. So the idea of the Bell Game has always fascinated me, but I wasn’t going to go alone! So this was the perfect chance.
The build up to the game was pretty crazy! (In the best possible way.) The whole town really gets in on it – but especially our neighborhood, since we live near one of the schools! The houses up and down the street decorate for the game, the high school kids paint their car windows. All around town, local businesses show support for the school they hope to win! It’s really something to experience.
We jumped in on the fun, painting our front window and buying t-shirts that said “Keep It Red” on the back! We bought temporary tattoos, and red pom-poms. And the kids decided they needed to have the same stuff too 😉 so of course we obliged!
I researched the game a bit for my local blog, including the 14 years from 1907-1921 that the Rivalry was put on hold due to a riot at the 1907 game! I’m a bit of a nerd, so this was so much fun to read about!
Game day FINALLY came, and we had a blast getting ready! Tattoos were applied, red shirts worn. We headed outside to wait for the bus full of high school football players and cheerleaders to drive by on their way to the game! (We had 22 cars honk at us, as the kids jumped up and down waving their flags!) Scribber wasn’t quite sure what the big deal was, but she was happy to jump around and wave her pom-pom like a little cheerleader with the neighbor kids! (And plus, anytime mom lets you put a tattoo on your face it’s gonna be a good time, right?)
The game itself was a fantastic game, with a final score of 28-26! (And yes, the Bell does Ring Red for the record breaking fifth year in a row!) I’m glad that the kids’ first experience was with our team winning – although I can’t help but feel a little bad for the opposing school.
In the end? I finally feel like after 13 years in this small southern Colorado city, I am part of it! I have experienced some of the best traditions we have, and look forward to next year!
What are some of your favorite local traditions?