Central High School’s uniqueness is expressed through long-standing traditions, many of which have spanned generations! The yearbook is still The Wildcat. The newspaper was called The Central High Times. Students continue to participate in athletic events, music concerts, drama productions, school assemblies, and the Bell Bash. National Honor Society, Student Council, Girls’ Cabinet cheerleader/spiritleader groups, and many other organizations are still active. Today’s youth will have special memories of Central’s pillars, inclines, classrooms, gymnasium, cafeteria, and Ed Lesar Hall. Tales continue to be told about the ghosts who are known to walk the halls and visit the auditorium. Many Wildcats still hang out on the front steps, loaf in the main hall, wear blue and white on Fridays, and clap out the seniors. Students take pride in earning academic and athletic letters, in seeing their pictures on the Wall of Achievement, in serving as junior escorts, in being members of a royal court, and in marching with the ROTC. Senior year highlights still include participating in homecoming activities, selecting the senior class gift, attending the prom, being honored at the recognition (now called The Culmination Assembly), and receiving a gold or silver cord at graduation. However, the two traditions that the greatest reach in terms of public knowledge are the Central-Centennial Football/Victory Bell rivalry and stories of the feats of the legendary Central graduate, Earl “Dutch” Clark, for whom the football stadium was named.
Since the establishment of Central and Centennial High Schools, an athletic contest began that as developed into the longest-standing high school football rivalry west of the Mississippi River! Central won the first conflict which dates back to Thanksgiving Day in 1892. During the game being played in 1907, a riot involving players, officials, and spectators broke out after a controversial Centennial touchdown. The fear of violence halted the annual event until 1921. Since that time, the two teams have met each other at least once a year.
In 1950, a Pueblo businessman, Lewis Rhodes, donated a brass bell from one of the Colorado Fuel and Iron engines to be awarded annually to the winner of the game. Co-Captains Nathaniel Jones and Bob Smith received the bell for Central High School for the first time. A second game was played that year on Thanksgiving Day, and Central won. For many years, a second game was played on Thanksgiving Day if the two schools were not involved in the playoffs. After 107 years and 97 games, Central leads the series 50-39-9 (as of 2000).(*) (**)
Although additional schools were built as Pueblo grew, the annual Bell Game still commands center stage and attracts national attention each year. Evidence of partisan feelings pop up the entire week before the game, as businesses are decorated in their teams colors, Co-workers wager bets, and telegrams from well-wishers pour into locker rooms. Pep assemblies ignite the students and communities with their pride, spirit and enthusiasm! Alumni from all over return to renew old acquaintances and cheer the team on at the capacity-filled stadium. Emotions run high, and there is never any doubt as to whose side someone is on! Dutch Clark Stadium, formerly known as Pueblo Public School Stadium, is bursting in a wave of red and a wave of BLUE! Thousands watch each year, often cheering on fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-generation players. The strength of this tradition goes beyond description; fans from all over flock to support their favorite team. Wildcats are especially proud to play in a stadium named for “Dutch” Clark, a 1926 Central High School graduate who went on to become a great college and professional football player.