Humboldt State College’s Redwood Bowl got a new $11,000 football field cover 54 years ago this week.
The large tarp — which was nylon reinforced and rubberized — was used right away to protect the field from being saturated by several inches of rain that fell Oct. 29, 1964, a few days before the Lumberjacks’ homecoming game against Far Western Conference rivals, the San Francisco Gators.
Humboldt State University was known as Humboldt State College from 1935 to 1972, when it changed to its current name.
In addition to the cover, new gravel-filled drainage ditches were installed on either side over the length of the field. With this new set up, the tarp would be rolled off, allowing the excess water to flow off into the drainage channels, when the rain stopped or just before game time.
Humboldt State College’s new five-man tarp crew — led by Ralph Hassman — was charged with putting the eight-section cover in place on the field any time rain was in the forecast.
Each section of the tarp weighed 400 pounds and, when connected, stretched from goalpost to goalpost. The entire cover could be placed on the field in 30 minutes and removed in about half that time, according to an article in the Oct. 29, 1964, Humboldt Standard.
Humboldt State University will discontinue its football program after the 2018 season. Three more games remain in the regular season, including a home game at Redwood Bowl this Saturday at 6 p.m. against Central Washington University.
Heather Shelton can be reached at 707-441-0516.