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Sports history hits home

Book includes local sports figures

— Think you know sports history? Come up against Lewiston’s Dick Riggs and you just may change your position.

Riggs, a graduate of Lewiston High School and University of Idaho, was the guest speaker to an audience of nearly 40 at the Bicentennial Historical Museum’s Brown Bag session Sept. 10. His theme was “An 80-Year-Old Looks at Local Sports History.”


Dick Riggs

“I have ties to this area as I was the principal at Salmon River in Riggins in the ‘60s and superintendent in Craigmont from 1970-1975,” Riggs said. His father was also born in White Bird and a grandfather is buried in the White Bird Cemetery.

“Did you know that on June 23, 1912, Lewiston beat Grangeville in baseball, 4-3, at Lewiston High?” he said. “The Grangeville students and band took the train to Lewiston and it was reported the Grangeville band played some fine tunes.”

Riggs is especially a Lewiston sports aficionado.

“A lot of people come to Lewiston for NAIA baseball action – it’s big,” he said. “And it has a very big past.”

Riggs is interested in all sports and told how the last college football game was played at North Idaho College of Education (Lewiston Normal College/Lewis-Clark State College) in 1950 and how “true Vandal fans still refer to Boise State as ‘Boise Junior College.’” However, he did admit BSU has a “great sports program.”)

Riggs also discussed the “town teams” — every small town had a baseball team that played Sunday afternoons. He played on a team out of Kamiah for $5 per game in 1951 and that year, he said, “we won the whole shebang.”

“Those Sunday games – before that thing called ‘television,’” he shook his head. “Well, let’s just say it’s a lost bit of Americana.”

High school teams “gone but not forgotten” include (year ended) Craigmont Cougars (1962), Winchester Loggers (1962), Cottonwood Mustangs (1961), Ferdinand Eagles (1961), Greencreek Tigers (1961), St. Gertrude Panthers (1970), Kooskia Mountaineers (1958), Stites Hawks (1958), White Bird Chiefs (1942) and Riggins Buckaroos (1956).

Riggs started coaching six-person girls basketball at Craigmont just before Title IX went into effect in 1972. In 1976 IHSAA (Idaho High School Athletic Association) began recognizing girls at the state level.

“And it was a good thing, equity for the girls who had potential to be fine athletes, too,” he said. “I used to listen to the radio while shaving each morning and listen for the ball scores. Afterwards I would call and say, ‘hey, you know the Craigmont girls played a game last night, too.’ In those days the best compliment girls initially got was, ‘Wow! She plays like a boy!’”

In his book by the same name of his presentation, Riggs talks about his friend and former Grangeville teacher, coach, principal and superintendent Bill Eimers.

“Bill claimed he taught Rosalie Kaschmitter [Grangeville] a few of her under-the-basket moves,” laughed Riggs. Eimers invited the All American Redheads traveling team to play in Grangeville and 6’-7” Kaschmitter ended up signing with the team and traveling with them.

Riggs went over athletes who have been inducted in the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame including Eimers; Tim Hayhurst of Stites; Ken Hobart of Kamiah; Ed Ranta of Kooskia; Ken Schrom of Grangeville; Bobbi Hazeltine who coached at Craigmont; and Dave Snodgrass of Clearwater Valley.

Riggs’ book offers a variety of sports articles on baseball, basketball, football, boxing and golf as well as many other areas of sports. It is available for $20 by calling or e-mailing Riggs: 746-0168;


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