Red grass and 'Adjusto-Turf' coming to Wolverine Field

Apr 1, 2014 Edward Bloomy

After a long and exhaustive meeting that wore on and on until 4:01 a.m. Tuesday, the Riverton school board voted unanimously to support a proposal to change the color of the artificial playing surface at Wolverine Field from the current green to cardinal red -- the school colors of both Riverton Middle School and Riverton High School.

It also was announced that Riverton will be the first school in the country to use the new Adjusto-Turf playing surface. The cost of the project is projected to be $4.1 million.

RHS principal Griffith Johns brought the proposal to the school board at the beginning of Monday's meeting.

"We have entirely too much green on our campus. We can't do anything about our natural green grass, but we sure can change the color of Wolverine Field. Green belongs in southern Fremont County, not here (referring to Riverton's arch rival Lander's school colors)."

Johns said he hopes more cardinal red on campus will help with school spirit both at RMS and RHS. In addition, the color of the outdoor turf will match the work that will start this summer in Wolverine Gym.

Tuesday morning, the board approved a project that will make the color of the hardwood floor in the gym cardinal red as well. The cost of the gym floor coloring project is estimated to cost $410,000.41

"We have to get coordinated. Our kids should play in a sea of cardinal red. We have too many shades of red in our schools. It is all really confusing," board member Rody Jay said.

The board acknowledged meeting secretly in a bunker-like area carved out of the old swimming pool at the old Riverton High School near Tonkin Stadium talking about the turf and gym color changes and that the decisions haven't come without considerable thought.

"We've been thinking about this for a long, long time -- since last April first," Riverton superintendent Terry Spyder said. "With the televising of high school sports that's coming, we have to be ahead of the game.

"We know this will get kids to want to play here, because Wyoming will be the only state having its high school games on TV. We can recruit now, and ESPN has said this is a big deal."

RHS will become the first school in Wyoming to move away from the traditional green and use its school colors for its field.

Riverton head football coach Patterson P. Patrick said the Wolverines also will take advantage of the new section 4 paragraph 1 Wyoming high school football rule that allows the home team to select the color of footballs for its home games.

"We will have cardinal red footballs, cardinal red jerseys, cardinal red pants, and now cardinal red turf. Thanks to this color scheme, we will be the only ones who know where the ball is. That will be advantageous to us. It will all blend in so nicely," Patrick said.

RHS boys soccer coach Late Cornejo was very excited about the possibilities that Adjusto-Turf will bring to his program.

"We will immediately be better. Kids in Riverton grow up playing soccer at Rein Park, and the grass there is like four or five inches tall. One of the great features of Adjusto Turf is that we can set the height of the turf with a dial. We'll set ours to super-tall, which is a 4.1-inch turf height setting so our team will feel right at home.

"Also, with Adjusto-Turf, we can remove those silly football lines, and pop up soccer-only lines. Our kids get confused and try to hit teammates and use their hands periodically in practice when they see those dumb football lines on our current soccer field," Cornejo said.

Earlier in the meeting, the board spent considerable time discussing a related proposal from retired driver education instructor Linda Frown, who said she is concerned about the driving skills of young Riverton drivers these days.

"Since we don't have drivers ed in the high school anymore, we should start a middle school learn-to-drive program using smaller, less expensive, built-to-scale cars. We can have the kids drive them around the track at football games. If they can weave in and out of the cheerleaders without smacking them, they will be ready when they are driving in high school," Frown said.

The board took the idea under advisement, and will consider it at its April 1, 2015, meeting.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red (on Adjusto-Turf)!

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