Nebraska has strong roots when it comes to baseball. The pulse mainly centered in Lincoln, the entire state is known for good old fashion baseball. Like some states are known for basketball, and some for football, Nebraska has always been a state known for it’s baseball youth programs and developing kids to the college level and beyond.
Then there is Colorado. A state much less known for baseball, in general, however, has a pocket of baseball mastery that can compete with any place in the country. Just so happen this pocket of baseball is in the connecting portions to Nebraska.
For years, Northeastern Colorado and Southwestern Nebraska have been significant rivals in terms of baseball. The rivals start early at t-ball, and make their way through high school club levels. I’m a 47 year old man that grew up in this rivalry, and heard stories about it from my grandparents, in particularly my grandfather, who played in the infancy stages of the rivalry.
History of the Rivalry, from Grandfather’s Point of View
Unfortunately I don’t have years to go with the history here, but I imagine we’re talking about the 30s or 40s. At the time, my grandfather was a teenager, and baseball was just making it’s popularity in SW Nebraska. At the time, there was some baseball in the area, but it really went to the next level. Club teams and leagues were formed and just about every boy, at the time, participated.
It came to a point where every kid in the area was playing, but there were still only a handful of teams. Even today, SW Nebraska isn’t heavily populated, so imagine 60 or 70 years ago. It was at this time that coaches and leaders in our area started engaging with communities in Northwestern Kansas and Northeastern Colorado. Kansas had no interest. And, in that area, it was extremely less populated than NE Colorado.
NE Colorado was up for the challenge. At the time, they only had 4 teams in the area, all teenage teams, and they weren’t very good. The rivalry sparked immediately just based on location, and farmers from each region had been known to have friendly, yet serious rivalries for years.
As both areas teams got better over the years, bragging rights were incredibly important to each area. Local based games didn’t matter only rivalry games, which were included with about half of all schedules. The stands would be full, and clearly decided based on region.
Today and Beyond
Today, the baseball scenes have decreased significantly and the areas are more so known for specialty 7 on 7 football. For several years, within the last 20 years, baseball leagues didn’t have the revenue to run programs for baseball.
About five years ago, myself and several friends decided to re-energize the baseball culture that use to be the backbone of these areas. We were met with so much interest initially, but then found that no one was willing to take action. In response to baseball being gone in the areas for a while, kids had started committing to football, basketball, soccer and wrestling.
So, we decided to join forces. bringing both areas together to meet at the border and practice and play. We currently have one club program called the Essex Baseball program and we meet to practice as one, and play against other areas in Denver and Lincoln. Lots of travel, but ti’s our only option.
One of our team ballgames –
Why this Page Exists
We need contributions from anyone who would like this program to succeed. The end goal is to re-infuse the area with the love of baseball. Any contributed money will be used for team needs and community outreach.
Are you willing to contribute. We’re happy to receive monetary contributions, but will take volunteers as well!
To donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to our sponsors Atlantic Roofing, Stans Mart, Texaco, and Wenatchee Plumbing Services