Current students and alumni provide summer face-lift for Bowers Stadium

Sports are where passions come alive in people. We cheer, we cry, we swear, all in the name of a sport and a team. Some may get painted up for a football or volleyball game, but a group of individuals passionate about Sam Houston Athletics recently devoted their time to help SHSU by power washing Bowers Stadium.

The group of 12, Rob Beardmore, Bo Schultz, Chris Gilstrap, Kary Gentry, Alvin Kmiec, Russell Burnett, Patric Sleightholm, Leson Gervais, Christopher Whitaker, Todd Donaldson, Dwayne Harrison and Patrick Saunder, spent four days from July 13 to July 16 cleaning the stadium, including the bleachers and the brick around the press boxes and concourse areas. They put a lot of hours into the effort, working from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. July 14, 15 and 16.

“Our group of 12 who worked really wants to thank our university and athletic department for allowing us the privilege to allow us in and help out the program and make the gameday experience within Bowers Stadium more enjoyable for the university as well as all the visitors,” Rob Beardmore said.

The group came together through the KATFANS Web site, a message board where fans of Sam Houston State Athletics discuss and complain about a variety of topics. But after looking at a few pictures from the spring game showing the stadium’s bleachers in the background with black mold, it was apparent the stadium needed a face-lift with the impending new turf to be installed.

“The stadium needed cleaning,” Patric Sleightholm said. “It’s a pretty expensive task and it’s something we did for the athletic department, to save them a few dollars and make the stadium look nice for the upcoming football season.”

Beardmore, a graduate of SHSU in 1986 and a season ticket holder for Bearkat football, has been a fan of Sam Houston State Athletics since he first set foot on campus in 1981. He took charge of the project, contacting the Athletic Department about the volunteer assignment. He asked on the message board if anyone would volunteer for the assignment and asked them if they could bring a power washer and long enough hoses.

“I try to be a doer in life not a talker,” Beardmore said. “When I heard people talking about it and nothing being done, I wanted to step forward and see if we could put it all together.”

“We did it to improve the Sam Houston State University college football gameday experience. We thought by doing the stadium, it would just make it such a nice game day experience, for the players, the coaches, alumni, students and all Bearkat fans,” Beardmore said.

“Another reason we did it is that we are looking forward to hosting some national playoff games this year and in the future years to come.”

Much of the equipment used in this project was from the volunteers, though two industrial- class washers were donated by local businessmen Larry Maciariello, who Beardmore says was an integral part of the process of getting the job done.

The result of their work, a cleaner looking stadium to go along with the new turf, white cement rather than putrid black by the bleachers, accomplished the goal set out by Beardmore and his crew to make the game day experience much more enjoyable for everyone.

“I know that students and alumni alike were excited about this season,” SHSU Student Government President Christopher Whitaker said. “The stadium really needed to be cleaned up. KATFANS.com has always been extremely supportive of Bearkat Athletics and we were glad to help.”

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