Camdenton updates turf, scoreboard and helmets

Things will look a little different this fall at Bob Shore Stadium.

The site, also known as the “Jaws of Death” where Camdenton plays its home football games and hosts track and field meets, will have a new turf field and new video board when the Lakers take the gridiron for their home opener in August.

“We are replacing the turf field because it is worn. The field has been down for 12 years and there is a useful life for artificial turf,” Camdenton superintendent Dr. Tim Hadfield explained. “The field was well maintained and well used by not only the school, but also our community and the field actually ‘outlived’ the warranty. Over the past couple of years we noticed we would need to replace it in the near future and since we were replacing the field, it also appeared to be a great time to upgrade our scoreboard to a video board.”

The process began when the Board of Education established a sub-committee that consisted of a couple of board members and administrators to review plans and ideas for the field replacement and the installation of the video board. The funding of the turf field came from the school district’s regular budget while the video board is being funded through advertising from local businesses. The old scoreboard will be removed, but parts from the old scoreboard can be utilized on other scoreboards in the district.

“We have had great support from our community in several businesses wanting to become sponsors,” Hadfield noted. “The replacement of the field was seen as a regular operating expenditure, but the board was seen as something extra, and thus, the opportunity for advertising.”

Hadfield took some time to give thanks to the sponsors who have committed to making the video board possible and he also took some time to give thanks to the patrons of the Camdenton school district.

“I would also like to thank our district’s patrons for their support in keeping our facilities up-to-date so our students, staff and community can continue to utilize these resources,” he said.

The bid accepted by the school board for the new turf field was $400,743 and the cost of the new video board stood at $371,945. The removal of the old turf started last week and was completed by the weekend while the new turf is currently being manufactured and should be in place sometime in July. Meanwhile, the video board is also in production and should be installed and operational by the end of July. It will also provide some educational opportunities for Camdenton students.

“The video board will give our video graphics class an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents during events at Bob Shore Stadium,” Hadfield pointed out. “They will run video advertisements and also provide videos of the games and events at the stadium.”

The new video board will stand on the opposite side of the field to its predecessor behind the bleachers where the “Pride of the Lake” marching band usually resides. Hadfield said there were no surface issues at this time in the replacement of the turf, but the foundation where the video board will stand needed a few changes.

“When core samples were taken we hit rock and imagine that in the Ozarks,” Hadfield remarked. “That is not a problem though and we just needed to change the support structure for the board.”

On top of the renovations taking place at Bob Shore Stadium, there will also be a new look to the helmets the Camdenton football team will display when they take the field this fall.

According to Head Coach Jeff Shore, there will be some new decals on the helmet featuring hog tusks and hog eyes to honor “Pappy’s Hogs”, in reference to longtime Laker coach Jim “Pappy” Pirch who coached the offensive and defensive lines from 1973 to 2005 and was a part of five state title teams. There will also be a decal on the back of the helmet to honor another longtime Laker coach in Carl Hunter who recently passed away. Hunter, a Camdenton alum, also scored the first touchdown in Laker history and Shore said the coach had a great effect on the lives of many of his players and fellow coaches.

“It is great and you could not ask for more community or school support,” Shore said of all the changes taking place this fall. “There is a lot of neat stuff this year and a lot of stuff to play for on top of just the excitement of playing football.”

With all of these changes taking place, Camdenton is also looking to make the home opener on August 18 against Hillcrest special by honoring some Laker teams of the past. Shore said the current plan is to recognize the 1977 team that played in the program’s first state title game 40 years ago and also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1987 team that won Camdenton’s second state title.

Despite all the new looks and changes taking place, Shore said one thing that will not be changing is the way the Lakers play football.

“I think we have the kind of team where we can stick to our basics, do what we do and have a good shot to compete in every game,” he stated.