Keeping the past alive |

Keeping the past alive

A look at how homecoming celebrations, themes evolved throughout the years

Bridget Manley

In the year 1919, “It” was afoot.

Only a small group of Craig High School girls knew what “It” was. However, they promised that their secret would make itself known at noon on Friday, Oct. 24.

Their secret would evolve into one of the earliest recorded homecoming rituals celebrated in Moffat County.

“The students gathered at that time on the lawn, awaiting the arrival of that Mysterious Creature,” according to “Annual of Craig High School, Vol. 3, 1920.”

“It” turned out to be a football game against high school students from Baggs, Wyo. A basketball game against the visiting team followed.

In an effort to bolster the home team’s spirits, the high school students didn’t miss the chance to take a jab at their rival.

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During the game, a “sad-looking girl with the sign ‘Baggs’ on her back appeared, weeping and wailing in a large basket,” according to the yearbook.

The girls’ secret plan paid off; Craig won both competitions.

“The yelling of the students and teachers proved that ‘School Spirit’ still existed, and that with a trifle nourishment, would survive.”

After the high school changed it name to Moffat County High School in 1948, its students would continue to celebrate homecoming, or some form of it, for the next 80 years. As time passed, it became a more complex annual ritual.

Regardless of what other activities were planned throughout the week, a homecoming parade has been a steady tradition for more than 50 years in Moffat County.

In 1955 “Rain reigned on Homecoming Day,” according to the 1956 Moffat County High School Yearbook. Still, 13 floats took to the streets that day. Some took their themes from popular songs, including “Rock Around the Clock” sung by Bill Haley and His Comets and “Don’t Fence Me In” written by Bing Crosby.

Moffat County students would continue using themes for their homecoming parades for the next 30 years.

When the high school faced off against visiting Meeker during the homecoming week of 1956, the fourth-grade class’s winning float was christened, “The Meeker Massacre.” Sophomores followed in second place that year with their float, “The Hanging of Tom Horn.”

Murderous float titles aside, Craig’s football team lost to Meeker that week, 20-24.

When the high school football team again played its rival in the 1962 homecoming game, the Meeker Massacre again lent its name to the winning float. Other floats that year took their theme from popular dances. The Pep Club chose The Twist, while the Spanish Club opted for the Hat


Other past homecoming floats, however, sent a strong message to the team Moffat County would face in the homecoming game.

Students chose outer space for their theme in 1982. The junior class decorated its float with stars and set a large, round ball in the center. The sign beneath it read, “Steamboat, we’re going to kick U-2 Uranus.”

The float won first place.

The senior class float didn’t fare so well that year. It urged the home team to “Eat ‘Tum & Phone Home the Victory.”

The caption beneath a photo of the float in the 1982 Moffat County High School Yearbook read, “Too bad the seniors couldn’t reach E.T.; the line was busy.”

Subsequent Homecoming Weeks were structured around other themes, including “Reflecting on the ’80s” in 1990 and “Welcome to Hollywood” in 1996.

In 2003, MCHS students chose “The Las Vegas Lights” as their Homecoming theme.

This year, however, MCHS students took their cue from current events. Homecoming kicked off under the theme “Bulldog Olympics,” following in the steps of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In doing so, MCHS students carried on a tradition begun long before they, or even their parents, first stepped through the high school doors.

A tradition started by “It.”