A tip of the helmet to the end of an era.
For nearly a century, the Buckaroos and Bulldogs have met up on the football field each fall, playing for county pride in the great American high school pastime.
As the East Oregonian has carefully documented over the years, it wasn’t often much of a fight. For many years Pendleton played the role of big brother, annually pinning down their smaller sibling no matter how good the Hermiston team was.
That started changing in the 1990s as Hermiston hit a growth spurt and finally started matching their rivals blow for blow. Though both teams have put together short runs of dominance for the past couple of decades, every meeting has had the electricity of possibility. Both fan bases show up in force, and it has often been the most exciting game of the regular season.
But after tonight’s edition of the War on 84, the Thrilla on the Umatilla, the Watermelon vs. Wheat, it’s not clear when the teams will meet again. Hermiston will join the Mid-Columbia League in Washington’s athletic association and Pendleton will stay in a league with central Oregon teams. Because of a full league and tight schedule for Hermiston, finding room for the Pendleton on the calendar is unlikely.
As far as local traditions go, not many have the history of this football game. We’re going to miss it.
A tip of the hat to Blue Mountain Community College, which has seen an 11 percent jump in attendance this year compared to last.
That stands out among community colleges nationwide, which are collectively on a downward attendance trend.
Not so in Pendleton, Hermiston, Milton-Freewater and Boardman — where BMCC has facilities.
Partly that’s thanks to local taxpayers, whose approval of a bond in 2015 has expanded programs and made BMCC more relevant for more students.
It’s also thanks to leadership at the college, which has improved the school’s reputation and increased its partnership with other Oregon colleges and universities. It’s also due to recruiters like the ones we profiled in this week’s paper, who are working hard to convince skeptical seniors that BMCC is the place for them.
Let’s hope the upward trend continues. Eastern Oregon can only benefit from more students attending and graduating from BMCC, whether they go to the workforce or on to a four-year school.