ARTESIA’S HALL OF CHAMPIONS IS A LOOK BACK AT FOOTBALL HISTORY
There is a lot of rich, football tradition and history in the state of New Mexico. The gathering of memorabilia they have in the southeast corner of the state in Artesia is unlike any other in the Land of Enchantment.
The Bulldogs have 30 state championships in the sport of football, more than any other school in the United States since 1950. They have a place you can look back on all of em….The Hall of Champions at the Bulldog Bowl.
You name it, they’ve got it. You can find jerseys, helmets, cheerleading sweaters and even a few bulldogs. The idea of the Hall was first developed from a longtime Bulldog supporter.
“I think in Artesia New Mexico, when you look at recognizing sports, one of the people that’s always been a leader in that is Mack Chase and he had a lot of visions and ideas of things he would like to see honored,” said Artesia Athletic Director and longtime football coach Cooper Henderson. “He (Mack) played in the program himself, so he’s always taken a lot of pride in our sports programs.”
Cooper Henderson’s daughter helped put together an alumni book of photos of former Artesia players who went on to play college ball.
“We start with 1951, that’s the earliest one,” Cooper said as he flipped through photos. “It goes through the years, 1958, all the way up to our current ones. It’s been a fun thing for people to look at as well.”
There are flip charts of each season which includes a team photo and game scores from year.
“Artesia High School began in 1909 and we start there and go to the current and have a lot of the years in here so it’s really good for us.”
It’s more than just a mini-museum filled with memorabilia of Artesia football. It’s a look back at football history, a step back in time to different decades of football where they would use an old school punch card to scout their opponent.
“Actually, it was used quite a bit and copied by people until the time of computers and then thankfully put behind,” Cooper said.
There is also a video board where guests can select highlights from one of Artesia’s many state championships.
“This is a compilation of all our championship state games starting in 1957, so someone can come in and watch any of those games,” he described. “It’s kind of fun to see 1957, back at our old rock stadium, what people looked like, how people dressed. They’re all in suits.”
A guest book by the door is filled with the names of football fans from all over the country who come to get a taste of Artesia football.
“When people come to visit our community, the Bowl is one of the places they usually bring people in Artesia. When they bring them by here, people are impressed with the stadium. But when we’re able to bring them over here (to the Hall of Champions) and show them a little of this, they really have a little better idea of what Artesia is about.”