During my daughter’s freshman year, she was in marching band, since they were always at the football games playing, mom and I would sit in the bleachers and watch the games and of course Tiffany on the field during half time.
The cheerleaders then had this big bell that they would ring when the team scored points. It had four bent up legs, four bent up handles and the bell weighed about 70 pounds. It was very cumbersome to carry out to the field each game, so my neighbor and I started to carry it in and out of the school for games as the girls were not capable of doing it that easily.
Being a “member involved dad” with my kids, and others, Mom & I assisted in as many things as we could with the band, and then the three years Tiffany was a cheerleader. During the three years as a cheerleader, we drove kids to and from events, made step boxes for them and many forgotten items they needed.
During Tiffany’s Junior year as a booster member, I asked, “Who do I need to talk to, to make the bell more user-friendly for the cheerleaders?” The answer was, “If you want to do it, like Nike says, just do it!”
So, the project was on for delivery to the Class of 2000. It had to be ready for the homecoming football game.
So, I took the bell home and disassembled it from its bent-up frame and talked with my long-time machine shop/car builder buddy Lonnie Gilbertson of Gilbertson’s Machine Shop.
Lonnie and I brainstormed a few designs, and we decided that it should have two bicycle wheels for rolling and a frame with a T handle for easy pulling.
The next was how do we support the bell since this was around the 4th of July, we decided that the bell and support should resemble the Liberty Bell.
So off we went with our crude drawing in hand, now I needed to find sponsors for the material.
- Tubing for the frame.
- Wheels for rolling.
- Paint/powder coat for color.
- Wood for the bell support.
So, for the tubing, we used 2” exhaust tubing, I went to Carquest Auto Parts on Main street in Tigard and explained everything to Dave Hoffmeister and asked, “Will you donate 20 feet of tubing for the project?” The answer was yes!
Then I was off for some wheels, location: “Randall’s Family Bicycle Center” of Tigard and repeated the same to Don Randall. Waaaawhoo, I have wheels!
Then I was off to get it powder-coated, Lonnie had used “Portland Powder Coating” for many of his projects before, it turned out that the owner of that was Larry Manno, whose daughter went to Tualatin High School, so he was on board for the colors.
Now here is where the real fun started, I owned my own company “All Equipment Air Conditioning” and I did service work to the A/C systems for most of the logging companies in the Northwest.
So one day, I was up by Mount Saint Helens, working on some C&C Logging of Longview, Washington logging machines. During the repair, we talked about the kids in our schools and the project I was working on. So the operator asked if I had wood for the project yet. I stated, “not yet.”
So that was solved by him grabbing one of the log remnants with his monster logging machine and cutting off a 24” diameter log round about 30” long. We now have most of the items, soon the real fun began.
I used my chainsaw to carve out the basic shape to the ox collar for the bell, I then went to a Tigard door builder, and they did the final cut to size with a large bandsaw.
We finished the project on time, I took photos and the bell to each of those who donated their time and materials to the project and thanked them for their generous donations.
The bell was finished and donated to the Class of 2000, Tigard High School and all future classes to come during their Homecoming Assembly Rally in the gym. It has been 20 years now since it was donated, and all the current kids in school were not even born yet, so this will be a History lesson for them!
It was an enjoyable project to conceive, build and present to the Tigard High School.
I feel fortunate that I was able to put this all together as the memories are well worth it.
Bell History: As far as I could research, the bell has been in the Tigard school system since the early ’40s. No one is sure other than it has always been in the school system in the old times of Tigard.