|Bob Rivers (far right) and the OPSU “24/7 Grounds Crew” are ready for the task. Pictured with Rivers are two members of his team, Cla Hammers (far left) and Mike Lamar. - photo by Aggie Sports
**For Immediate Release**
Rivers Makes It Happen for the OPSU 24/7 Team
by Aggie Sports on 05/24/05
Goodwell, OK – Area softball fans had looked forward to the event ever since it was announced that Oklahoma Panhandle State University would host the 2005 Heartland Conference Tournament during the final weekend of April.
The Lady Aggie softball team, along with OPSU administration and staff, busily planned for the event which would feature five softball teams from three states and result in a great economic boost for the area, including over 150 fifty motel rooms, easily a thousand or more meals served in area eating establishments, and many new customers through the doors of retail outlets.
A few days prior to the outset of the three day tournament everything was totally on course and moving ahead at full steam.
However, a sudden drop in temperature and a good deal of unexpected moisture arrived in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and the OPSU grounds crew and the softball teams fought their way through the first day of the tournament on Thursday, April 28. All three of the first day’s games were very competitive, but with more cold, wind and rain on the horizon, nearly everyone was concerned that the tournament might not be able to continue.
The most concerned person was probably Bob Rivers, Grounds Supervisor at the college. Rivers and his staff worked from first light until nearly midnight on the first day, and he was well aware that a great deal of the burden of keeping things going would fall on his shoulders.
Day Two of the Tournament brought little relief from the temperature and drizzle, and in the morning it was announced that the first game of the day, scheduled for 10: 00 AM, was on hold due to wet grounds.
Though weary from the long hours they had put in on the previous day, the OPSU grounds crew worked closely with coaches, umpires, and the league representative, Gerard LeCanu – and all were determined that THE SHOW MUST GO ON.
After a couple of hours, the drizzle stopped, and Rivers brought in forty 25-pound bags of kitty litter and he and his employees meticulously mixed it with the infield dirt. By early afternoon, the sun began to creep from behind the clouds and the field had an extremely pleasing look to it. The moisture had accentuated the deep green of the outfield grass, and the new dirt mixture made the infield darker than usual and it provided an attractive contrast.
The SHOW DID GO ON, and two of the three scheduled games were completed.
On the morning of Day Three, the final day of the tourney, Mother Nature joined Rivers’ team and the temperature was inching up to near 70 degrees with no drizzle, Friday’s missing game was made up, and the rest of the tournament finished on schedule.
All of the coaches, as well as Dora Fernandez (Chief Umpire), were extremely pleased with both the work and the results produced by Rivers and his crew. LeCanu, the Assistant Commissioner of the Heartland Conference, had traveled from San Antonio to supervise the tournament and said he wished he could have Rivers around for every conference tournament, which rotates locations each year between the participating schools.
OPSU President Dave Bryant said, “Bob Rivers and the grounds crew do an amazing job of keeping the ball fields, golf course, and campus grounds looking their best year round. They are part of the 24/7 tradition at OPSU and we appreciate their hard work and dedication very much.”
If he would have been on the ballot, Bob Rivers may have been voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.