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First Sportsarama

August 26, 1960

On the big screen that Friday night you could have watched Elmer Gantry, Psycho or Sink the Bismarck – or you could have caught a twin bill at the Skyline Drive-In featuring Brigitte Bardot - or a Rock Hudson triple feature at the Twilight Drive-In.

If you were a NFL fan you could have been at Johnson Haggood Stadium in Charleston for a match up between the Baltimore Colts and St.Louis Browns.  Arnie Palmer would take the lead at the Milwaukee Open competing for a $30,000 purse. On the local sports scene, the Columbia Reds and Asheville Tourists were battling for the division crown.  Chico Ruiz would steal a couple bases as the Reds pulled ½ game behind the Charlotte Hornets.

Earlier that day you may have viewed one the $500 lots at Lake Murray.  A 2 bedroom, one carport house sold for $62.98 over 72 months.  You may have shopped a little that afternoon.  Girls saddle shoes were $3.00 a pair, boys jeans were a $1.95, and you could have had brought home King Crab from Winn Dixie ($1.10 a pound).

That night you could have been glued to one of the 4 channels in the Columbia area as the 17th Olympics opened or just perhaps have been lassoed to the set with Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp or Rawhide (Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates).

Then, again you could have been one the 5,000 at the first SPORTSARAMA at Memorial Stadium.  Mike Derrick of Brookland-Cayce would score the first ever touchdown with a 95 yard punt return.  B-C would move to the Olympia 10 yard line only to see the Red Devils hold the Bearcats as time ran out to end the first quarter of SPORTSARAMA football. 

After the Brookland-Cayce Olympia match Eau Claire and Lower Richland would take the field.  Quarterback Thomas Ray’s boot leg was the first TD from scrimmage and Eau Claire’s Buddy Robinson’s extra point would be the first kicking PAT in a SPORTSARAMA game.  Larry Sharpe would add another Shamrock touchdown on a 32 yard run. A Hornet charge led by Odell Belger would fall short as time elapsed.

At half time, the Brookland-Cayce Marching Band, the national championship band, would entertain the crowd.

After the halftime, A.C. Flora, fielding its first football team, would play Dentsville. QB Buzzy Canup and the Falcon backfield marched 80 and 75 yards in their first 2 drives. With fullback Charles Farrell and halfbacks Coot Wood, Larry Hedgepath and Donnie Dunlap pounding the lines Hedgepath and Dunlap would tally the Falcon scores from 5 and 10 yards out.

Columbia High and Dreher closed out the night.  Columbia QB Mike Ritchie would direct the Caps on a 70 yard, 13 play drive  with backs Jimmy Boatwright, Tommy Odum and Jerry Derrick.   Jimmy Boatwright scored from the 1.  Tommy Odum added the PAT.   A Blue Devil scoring drive ended on the 1 yard line with two great defensive stops as time out.

The scoring stats are always easy to note for a game but there are other plays that were key. Olympia’s Boogie Gamble recovered the first fumble, Lem Stubblefield and Charles McDonald threw key blocks in Derrick’s 95 yard TD return, and Columbia High’s Roy Dutton and Buddy Heddy made a key stop to hold Dreher from scoring in the final seconds of the game.

Eau Claire would be the recipient of first the School Spirit Award. 

The night’s match up would feature coaches who would go on to make an impact in the community and coaching profession.  Harry Parone of Dentsville would later be honored by Spring Valley in naming their football stadium as the Harry Parone Stadium, the SPORTSARAMA spirit award would later be named after Dreher coach and Richland 1 Athletic Director Charlie Stuart.  Art Baker of Eau Clair would later be the head coach at Furman, The Citadel and East Carolina and serve as the Director of the University of South Carolina’s Gamecock Club – and be inducted in the S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame (Art and a few others with SPORTSARAMA connections are in the SCAHF).  The Public Address that night and for several years would be handled by a young broadcaster who made a career that would make him know as “The Voice” of the Gamecocks, Bob Fulton.

In 1961, Miss.Theo McGimsey of Eau Claire would be the first Miss. SPORTSARAMA.  Later years would see a change to King and Queen and to Mr. and Miss SPORTSARAMA.  The game would be moved to Williams-Brice Stadium, then to three sites and then back to Memorial Stadium.  C.A. Johnson and Keenan would join later and remain as current members.  Spring Valley, Richland Northeast, Irmo, Chapin, Heathwood Hall, Hammond, Cardinal Newman, Ben Lippen , Lexington, Airport, Fairfield Central, Qrangeburg-Wilkinson and Swansea would also participate in SPORTSARAMA.  Events that would be part of SPORTSARAMA would be a pre-game cheer off, a tea and the Mr. and Miss. SPORTSARAMA candidates would participate in fashion show.

Young men and women – football players, band members, cheer squads, the Mr. & Miss SPORTSARAMA, coaches, teachers, administrators, announcers, officials would go on to make impacts in sports, banking, education, the media, modeling and fashion, the military and other professions.

Many thanks to those in Richland School District 1, all of those over all of  the years - the superintendents, athletic directors, principles, teachers, coaches from the football and other teams, cheer squads and coaches and band and band directors who are involved in our educational system for more than just one night.  Not the least of these is the game officials and the medical and security personnel.

Richland Sertomans – men and women from all areas and walks - have grilled hot dogs, sold programs and sodas thru great nights, hot nights and rainy nights and spent hours to host and coordinate this event.


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Richland Sertoma is a chapter of SERTOMA Inc.

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