By Harold Fuller
The first football game played under the lights at the Mineral County Memorial Athletic Field happened on the evening of Sept. 15, 1951. The MCHS Serpents faced a big, strong Elko team before a record breaking crowd of approximately 1,200 people. The night was charged with excitement because now, for the first time, they were going to finally play a night game on their own field.
The school and players were very grateful for the efforts of those who made the lighting possible and the crowd respectfully stood by to observe a short ceremony and dedication presented by the Hawthorne Lions Club. Roger McGowan, teacher and announcer for the home games, introduced Jack Bott, local pharmacist and past president of the Lions Club, who covered some of the football history that had happened on this field since that first game in 1943. He told of the Lions Club project to provide a modern grassed field during 1946 and of the recent undertaking to provide lighting for the night games.
The project was started during Botts term as Lions President and completed during the term of Lions President Doug Golden (former fire chief at the base). Golden spoke briefly and he, like Bott, commended Lion Fred Parker, the lighting committee chairman and superintendent of the Mineral County Power System, for the splendid accomplishment of he and his crew. Parker was introduced and gave a brief explanation of the system and thanked the community as a whole because some of the work “may” have happened on “company time”. He gave special thanks to Efton Swindler, Dean Glassford, Ralph Thomsen and local electricians, for all the many hours of free labor donated to the cause.
Student and football standout Eugene Baxter then thanked the Lions Club and presented Fred Parker with an honorary membership in the Mineral County Block H Society. The game proceeded and the Serpents found the going a little tough; falling behind by seven before finally tying the game in the final quarter. On such a wonderful evening, against a tough team like Elko, seven to seven wasn’t too bad.