The preparation before a bowl game starts with more than just the teams practicing and the coaches going over every play. While these are very important, there are a lot of behind the scenes factors that take place many may not realize. These factors help to improve the overall experience of the bowl game.
Days before the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl even starts, preparations are made to the stadium before it can be considered “bowl ready.”
Father-son duo, Mark Hebrard, Athletic Field Design, and Andy Hebrard, Athletic Applications, are managers of their own business, yet are able to collaborate on projects together, one, in particular, is at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho.
“Every time it’s a pleasure coming to Boise. The staff at BSU, Kevin, the bowl director, and Jesse from Event Rent, are incredible to work with. This is a challenging project-freezing temps, snow or moisture in the air and painting over the Mountain West logo on blue turf- a lot of factors,” Andy Hebrard wrote in an email.
They are currently in the process of a three-day project to transform the original mountain west logo on the field to the Famous Idaho Potatoes trademark.
The original Albertsons Stadium had the Mountain West logo placed between the 20- and 30-yard lines on both ends of the field. By the end of the three days, it will read Famous Idaho Potatoes in brown surrounded by a yellow box.
They first started by covering the MW logos with blue paint to make sure to have proper coloring.
Once the blue paint on the field dries and is in proper color to match the “smurf turf” aesthetic. The next step involves creating a yellow box requiring two coats of paint. This creates a base layer to start the brown lettering they placed on top.
The brown lettering was first applied with a stencil and then free handed to fill in the missing pieces. Two coats of brown paint are also used in order to avoid seeing the brown stencil lines in between and underneath the first layer.
To help the paint dry faster, the duo assembles a white tent around the painting area, which is heated to around 80 degrees, a very warm place to be when Boise is sitting around 30 degrees outside.
One of the main reasons it takes three days to do a project like this is the weather and having to paint on the turf. However, all the projects vary based on different circumstances.
“This all depends on size, complexity and number of colors. In the case of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, freezing temps. Often times generic logos that are two colors, on natural grass, 15ft x 15ft take an hour. Large projects take longer,” Andy wrote in an email.
Athletic Applications was first contacted five years ago by Pioneer Athletics, leader in the synthetic and natural turfgrass industry, since then they have been doing the logos for the bowl games in Boise.
“Great team to work with, they instill a lot of trust in me to be a lead applicator along the west coast,” Andy said in an email.
It was 30 years ago that Mike started his Athletic Field Design business, specializing in field design, maintenance and customized graphics. His business has done a lot of work at the Nike World Campus Special events, as well as, work at Oregon State, high school fields and the Little League Softball World Series.
“My helpers love working at Nike because the grass is so nice, along with the Softball World Series,” Mike wrote in an email.
Andy’s business, Athletic Applications, specializes in line and logo work, athletic fields and field’s management. He has done work for the LA Ram’s training camp and the HBO TV show, Ballers. He has also done a lot of work at the NIKE World Head Quarters, which pushes and grows the skill set of Athletic Applications.
Andy has traveled to various locations across the U.S., like his father. His favorite work involves the challenge of doing a complex logo in a short amount of time.
“One of my buddies, Tim Kemp of DEVCO, paints the Long Drive events and brings Mike and I to come in and help. These events are all over the country about 4-5 times a year. A lot of logos, a lot of color, need to be painted very quickly. Love that challenge,” Andy wrote in an email.
These projects bring Mike and Andy closer together as they both currently reside in different states.
“I’ve got a lot of favorites and really love the line of work I’m in,” Andy wrote in an email. – By Taylor Hannon, UW Student Online newspaper