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Branson’s ambitious fundraiser fights to keep football

Bearcats seek $450,000 for new astroturf field
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 11:04 PM MST
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BRANSON, Colo. (KKTV) - Hidden in the high desert, in a town that barely holds 50 people, Branson Football dares to dream.

Right now, the K-12 school near the Colorado-New Mexico border has more of a pasture behind its building than an actual field. It’s a dirt (sometimes mud) stretch of land where the grass doesn’t have enough water to grow. The gophers, however, based on their numerous holes near midfield, seem to get by just fine.

“Getting tackled into that field, it’s like nothing you’ve felt before,” Branson junior Brody Doherty says. “Getting pounded into dirt, getting all kinds of burns, scrapes ... at the end of the day you’re glad the game is over.”

The Bearcats’ six-man football field is in such disarray, opposing teams have called it a “safety concern” and are refusing to play there. As a result, Branson launched a fundraiser, hoping to raise $450,000 for an astroturf field with all the bells and whistles.

Labeled the Bearcat Football C.L.A.W. (Community Long-term Athletics and Wellness) Project, Branson hopes to fund the project through grants, in-kind contributions, and private donors.

$450,000 : Total Project Budget
$350,000: Field (Playing Surface) Construction
$13,000: Shaded Structure / Picnic Area
$5,000: Walking Path
$30,000: Announcer Booth
$20,000: Scoreboard
$7,000: Goal Posts
$16,000: Bleachers
$9,000: Fencing

“This little small town has a big heart,” says Brad Caldwell, Branson’s principal and head football coach. “And the people that live around it have a big heart. They’ve always been so supportive of our events. Hopefully, they know how much I appreciate them.”

Brad Doherty, Branson’s athletic director, says the school won’t disband its program if the fundraiser doesn’t meet its goals. But the team will have to travel much longer distances to play, and the town will be without one of its biggest events in the fall.

“Football brings the community together,” junior Koy Pickard says. “There’s not much to do in Branson. So whenever we have home games, that’s the one time the entire community gets together, has fun, and gets to cheer for their team.”

Branson is hoping to start construction on a new turf field by March or April. You find more information on their fundraiser, as well as info to donate, on their website.

Branson football's run-down field. The school is hoping to raise $450,000 to install artificial...
Branson football's run-down field. The school is hoping to raise $450,000 to install artificial turf.(KKTV)

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