The tables and stage are on their way.
The guest list is impressive.
The anticipation is finally over.
The Greenwave Hall of Fame will induct its first class Saturday night as 35 athletes, coaches, contributors and teams will be honored in front of family, friends and the rest of the Fallon community at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium.
An effort that has been in the works for decades, only to fail one attempt after another, was re-energized last year when Fallon track coach Paul Orong assembled a team of dedicated members of the community to help bring the Hall of Fame to life. For the past 18 months, the committee has lifted this enshrinement from the ground and after this weekend, 35 standouts will have etched their name in Greenwave history. Although tickets are no longer on sale, most of the inductees will be introduced before tonight’s homecoming game against Elko.
“There’s been so much preparation and so much participation from what would turn into our core group of members and an enthusiastic group of researchers from the Churchill County Museum,” said John Dirickson, the committee’s treasurer who was also responsible for organizing the Hall of Fame induction plaques. “Contacting those voted into the first class and using social media to find relatives for those that have passed has been rewarding as well.”
The first class — also known as the First Wave — is big but it was important to Orong, the committee’s president, and his fellow volunteers to recognize many standouts because Fallon’s high school sports span more than a century, back when it was nicknamed the Melon Pickers. A research team that consisted of Mary “Bunny” Corkill, Nancy Sanders Stewart, Yvonne Arciniega Sutherland and Dave Lumos dug up years of information on Fallon history prior to 1950, submitting nomination after nomination earlier this year.
“It was names,” Corkill, in her 31st year at the county museum, said about her favorite part of the research. “Since my family has lived here so long, it brought up lots of wonderful memories. From 1945 when I was in school through now, I’ve known the people who have been involved (in high school sports). It’s fun.”
The First Wave is impressive and goes back to the 1920s when the girls basketball program won three state titles before girls sports were officially recognized 50 years later. The class includes many who have been inducted in either the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association or University of Nevada Hall of Fame. And in the rare case, one – Val York – was inducted in both.
After playing football for the Greenwave in the 1980s under Chris Klenakis and now leading the team, which included a state title two years ago, Brooke Hill said the Hall of Fame is long overdue.
“Fallon has a rich history in athletics. A long history.” Hill said. “To finally honor those people, those great teams, coaches and players, it’s tremendous. It’s something that’s been needed and hopefully it continues every year.”