In recent September events, a new addition to the El Pueblo Museum has been added: The Bell Rings, an exhibit remembering the history of The Bell Game. Students from Pueblo’s Centennial High School and Central High School had taken multiple days out of their weeks to help put this historic exhibit together.
The Centennial-Central rivalry is known as the largest and longest rivalry this side of the Mississippi. With evidence of this, The Bell Rings exhibit displayed things such as the leather helmet that belonged to legendary Quarterback Earl Harry ‘Dutch’ Clark” , who played for the Central Wildcats and with his success he eventually went on to play for the Detroit Lions in the NFL. What many don’t know is that the Bell was donated by Lewis Rhoades in 1950 as a prize for the winning team to receive. He had retrieved it from an old Colorado and Wyoming Railway locomotive that used to carry coal to the Colorado Fuel & Iron Plant in Pueblo, and it was determined that the winner of the game would receive this special trophy. Displays at the exhibit were what seemed to me to be timelines of the history of each school, including the first football team, all the way to the most recent. There were also additional tributes, such as one to past Centennial Football Coach, Jim ‘Paps’ Greeves who coached from the 1960s-1980s, and to the ball that was played with in the very first Bell Game.
Events at this opening exhibit included a drumline battle between Central and Centennial, performances from Centennial’s and Central’s Cheer and Dance teams, and from both schools Drumline. Central High School student Sophis Diprince-Markuson states “Just to see that this is unique, this is what makes Pueblo, Pueblo.” While Centennial student, Jacob Lewis agrees saying, “It really does go far beyond the game.” Along with what Lewis had said, when The Bell Game rivalry first began, football had been halted for 14 years after “ Centennial player Jack Hopkins was punched in the face following the 1907 game, igniting a riot. The rivalry resumed in 1921 and has been going ever since.”
Following the Opening of this exhibit was spirit weeks for the rivals, leading up to the annual game on September 15, where they battled for the bell. It has been determined that the Bell continues on to ring red, a glorious victory for Pueblo Centennial High School.