PENDLETON Its still July but football fever is in the air in Pendleton, starting with the Buckaroo Football Hall of Fame Weekend.
The celebration starts this Friday with the introduction of the 2012 edition of the Hall inductees. The Pendleton Convention Center will open its doors to Pendleton football history and the fans who follow it with a dinner banquet and auction beginning at 5 p.m. This years induction class of eight members will be introduced following the dinner at 6:45 p.m.
This years inductees include:
Former Buckaroo defensive back Steve Corey started for Pendleton beginning in 1961 as a sophomore. A?three-year starter under coach Don Requa, Corey played on the 61 defense that allowed only one touchdown and went undefeated. Corey continued his athletics at Yale as an undergraduate before attending Stanford Law School.
Recently hired Pilot Rock football coach Tom Melton is a former Buck great. Also a three-year letterman, Melton was part of three straight Buckaroo Intermountain Conference title winning teams from 1968-70. Before taking on the coaching position in Pilot Rock, Melton had held the same position with youth football teams in Pendleton, as well as officiating and umpiring duties in basketball and baseball leagues.
Gary Froberg, a 1965 PHS?grad, was a two-way starter for the Bucks at guard and linebacker. After providing the backbone of the blocking corps during his time in Pendleton, Froberg joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1969, playing college football at Humboldt State College and now lives in Rochester, Wash.
Kenny Kramer embodied coach Requas small and quick running backs. Kramers senior season in 1954, Requas first with Pendleton, was the first conference title for Pendleton since 1947. He later coached Pilot Rock baseball to two state tournament appearances before taking on superintendent duties in Imbler and continuing to coach there.
Don Hawkins, known as The Deacon, will enter the Hall as a Pendleton football booster. Hawkins son Tim started playing for the Bucks in 1968 and Hawkins took on the booster role shortly thereafter. He also served on the board of directors for the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon and is a Round-Up Hall of Famer.
La Grande native Eldon Lilly came on as a coach for the Pendleton Bucks in 1967. Lilly coached the defensive line for the next 20 years alongside Requa after coaching the Tigers and teaching in La Grande for the previous 17.
A 1948 graduate, Don Webb pulled double duty as a linebacker and blocking fullback with Pendleton. Webb was a three-year letterman before starting a life of business in Pendleton. He ran Webb Cold Storage in town before helping to build the Rainbow Cafe into one of Pendletons most famous watering holes.
Don Cessnun came to Pendleton in 1958 as a junior high teacher. Over the next 30 years, Cessnun worked with Requa to improve the PHS?football program, teaching future Bucks the basics at the junior high level.
Tickets to Fridays celebration are $25 and can be purchased at Deans Pendleton Athletic sporting goods store at 249 S. Main St. in Pendleton. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the dinner.
Entry forms for Saturdays 23rd Annual Don Requa Memorial Golf Tournament can also be picked up and returned at the store. The golf tournament played at Pendleton Country Club will hold check-ins starting at 11 a.m. with a lunch served at noon before the golfing starts at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start.
An entry fee for the tournament is $65.
The Buckaroo Football Hall of Fame Breakfast wraps up the weekend on Sunday morning from 8-11 a.m. The Veterans of Foreign Wars will prepare the meal at Stillman Park. Cost for a plate is $8.
All money raised during the weekend will be donated to scholarship funds and the Pendleton High football program.