Annual Bronco ‘Tailgate Party’ raises needed funds – and spirits – in Parkrose

See a whole bunch of fun, exclusive photos of a great event that brings together the greater Parkrose community with folks from their hard-working school district. The story is pretty interesting, also …

Parkrose School District staff members Mary Larson, Andrea Stevenson, and Zina Marchenko – and Zina’s daughter, Centennial High student Victoria Marchenko – serve up tasty appetizers before the Tailgate Dinner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some go for the food. Others attend to socialize with their friends. Still others never miss a Parkrose Bronco’s football game. And, many folks come to the annual Bronco Tailgate Party for all three reasons.

Again this year, guests were treated to a delicious barbecue dinner featuring appetizers, tender steak, tasty chicken, and all the fixings – including dangerously toothsome desserts – all served by Parkrose School District staff member volunteers.

No one groused about the unseasonably heavy rain as they enjoyed dinner under tents – while performances by the Bronco Cheer Team and Parkrose Band brightened the festive, if damp, event.

Alan Seino, food service director at the Reynolds School District for Chartwells – the food service company that also serves Parkrose – and Sandy Searcy of Parkrose’s Prescott Elementary, demonstrate top teamwork as the grill dinner entrees.

Patrons fill their plates with gourmet quality salads, corn-on-the-cob, garlic mashed potatoes, steak, and chicken at the 2010 Parkrose Tailgate Party.

“The very best part about this event,” opined Parkrose High’s principal, Ana Gonzalez, “is that it’s great for boosting school spirit.”

After Parkrose School District Superintendent, Dr. Karen Fischer Gray made introductions; she publicly thanked the many volunteers – most of them school district employees and students – for producing a great event. Then, she introduced Parkrose High School’s Athletic Director, Sanjay Bedi.

As the pelting rain lets up for a few minutes, the Parkrose Pep Band entertains.

The Parkrose High School Cheer Team lift everyone’s spirits with energetic dance routines and big smiles.

Parkrose High School’s Athletic Director, Sanjay Bedi, thanks patrons for support all of the events that take place on campus.

“What we’re doing here is celebrating the Parkrose community; I thank you for that,” Bedi said. “It’s great that people come for our sports. But it’s also good to see so many people come to our other events, including the Saturday Parkrose Farmers Market. This is an exciting place to be. Thank you for supporting us and our athletic events.”

By the big smile on her face, it looked as if Dr. Gray was having a wonderful time at the event; but she later reminded us that this joyful dinner had a serious purpose.

“The Parkrose Tailgate Party is very important to us, because it’s an important fundraiser for the Parkrose Educational Foundation,” Gray pointed out. “This allows the foundation to put another $3,500 toward athletics, arts and academics – many programs that we can no longer afford as a school district. At the same time, it pumps up enthusiasm in the community, brings neighbors together – and, we all do have a good time.”

Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray welcomes visiting team’s chief educator, Tim Mills, Superintendent of North Clackamas School District.

Happy patrons chat, after enjoying their dinner.

Kathy Keim-Robinson, Director of Student Services for the Parkrose School District, Parkrose High senior Jerry Alexander Watson Jr., and Yuki Monteith, the Districts’s Director of School Improvement, stand ready to serve patrons their just (delicious) desserts.

Surveying the sold-out event, Gray added, “It makes me realize how much the people of Parkrose support our school district. It warms our hearts; it makes me happy. I’m very proud to be part of this community.”

After desserts and coffee, many of the tailgate party revelers hiked over to, and took shelter under, the Parkrose Broncos Stadium.

Bernie Armstrong, granddad of Bronco football players, buys into the lotto with the aid of the district’s David McKay, Director of Human Resources.

Gathered at the Bronco’s 50-yard-line in the pouring rain, the teams flip a coin to decide which side will kick off.

The Parkrose Broncos warmed up, as did their opponents, the Rex Putnam High Kingsmen – and soon, the game began.

When the field clock finally counted down and the final whistle sounded, the score was Putnam 31, Parkrose 22.

A Broncos player takes the ball – and runs determinedly with it.

Pumping up the crowd are the Broncos Cheer Team.

The game was delayed three times – making the contest run an hour longer than usual, by three serious injures to Putnam players: The Kingsmen’s starting quarterback, a senior; also their team’s receiver and running back, both sophomores, left the Broncos field on gurneys and were taken by ambulances to the hospital. They were all reported to have suffered head or neck injuries, and possibly concussions.

Although the injuries marred the evening, none was adjudged serious, and the well-played game provided a close to the successful evening of fun and fundraising in Parkrose.

Although they showed plenty of hustle, the Broncos didn’t defeat the Kingsmen in this game.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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