District 25 should name facilities after deserving citizens

Sep 12, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Colleague Randy Tucker, in his Sunday Ranger column, briefly noted the lifetime achievements of legendary Wyoming Indian High School coaches Alfred Redman and Chico Her Many Horses. Tucker wrote that both men, who were long-term and successful leaders of young athletes, one day, deservedly, ought to have sports facilities named in their honor.

And why not? Naming facilities generally is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For generations, public buildings or places become part of the fabric of a community.

Jackson plays its football games at William T. McIntosh Stadium. The state track meet is held at Harry Geldien Stadium. Speaking of annual track and field events, Lander hosts the Shane Brock Memorial track meet each year at Bill Bush Memorial Stadium and Riverton High School wrestling, volleyball and basketball teams often travel to Lander to compete at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.

For years, teams from all over the Cowboy state came to Riverton to compete at Wilford Mower Track (Riverton's soccer teams played there for a few seasons too) and, of course, (Albert H.) Tonkin Stadium, for more than 70 years, was the epicenter of high school football in Riverton.

When Laramie High School opened its beautiful new campus in 2016, the name Deti Stadium traveled from the corner of 15th and Reynolds to the new stadium in south Laramie.

Riverton, when Wilford Mower Track was vacated, and without consulting local family, moved its program to the beautiful new track on the RHS campus, but the Mower name didn't make the trip.

(President Abraham) Lincoln and (President Thomas) Jefferson schools have been demolished in Riverton, but (President Andrew) Jackson School saw its classrooms full of school students this morning as was the James H. Moore Career Center.

So, what's in a name? Everything.

It is a good thing that Riverton High School has its Hall of Fame.

But Riverton's school board also could choose to end its recent practice (not policy) of not naming facilities or places for deserving people. The trap of worrying about a few complainers should be trumped by a desire to celebrate and remember the contributions or accomplishments of deserving citizens who are part of Riverton's history.

We should have the Porter Family Press Box at Wolverine Field (or Tonkin Stadium, surrounded by Wilford Mower Track - is it too late to move those names to RHS? They were once deemed worthy - what changed?) Ron Porter or his dad have been public address announcers at Wolverine football games for over a half of century.

Local soccer enthusiasts suggested the "pitch" at Wolverine Field be named the Rick Begstedt Pitch, in celebration of his 26 years of coaching the RHS girls soccer squad. And how about the Mike Harris referee room? Few have given more to what it means to be a sports official in Wyoming than Mike Harris who still officiates varsity high school games. Our current school board would have nothing of it, it appears. That, too, can change.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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