Field of dreams for Mariposa High School

FRESNO, Calif.

The high school football team just finished its first season playing here on campus after five decades of paying rent to hold home games here at the fairgrounds.

"It's been great because previously, all of our home games were away games. We had to get on a bus to go to our home games. This year we just came straight out of our locker room down to the field, it's great," Mariposa Co. High Football Coach Bob Kelly said.

Work is still underway on the stadium, which will eventually include permanent bleachers, new concession stands, and dugouts for the baseball and softball teams.

But a fence and temporary bleachers were added in time for the football season because the county fair conflicted with the first game. Mariposa gazette publisher Dan Tucker organized the grassroots effort to build the facility.

"It took a lot of community commitment and dollars and labor," Mariposa Gazette Publisher Dan Tucker said.

Several local businesses have pitched in, including the pioneer market, which donated the scoreboard and committed to $25,000 a year for the next three years. The local contractors association and hundreds of other residents also offered their money, resources, and time.

On one day, a large group of volunteers got together and laid 25,000 square feet of sod in just four hours.

"They have supported us time and time again. If we needed something, they're right there," Mariposa Co. Athletic Consultant Loyd Hobby said.

The county also contributed money despite the tough economy because the stadium can be used to host large sports tournaments that bring in tourism money.

"It was a good investment. The county put up about $75,000 of seed money to get it going, and that was just a fraction of the tremendous amount of work that went into this," Mariposa Co. Supervisor Kevin Cann said.

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