Paul Brown Field Springs Back to Life in Time for Summer Tournament

Paul Brown Field Springs Back to Life in Time for Summer Tournament
Paul Brown Field's press box gets a fresh coat of paint.

BROKEN BOW – 1985 marked the last time Paul Brown Field had seen any postseason American Legion Baseball play, a staggering thirty-seven years. About another thirty before that marked the last time the field had seen any update. The world, since then, has become an entirely different place. Imagine then, posed Broken Bow Legion coach Jeff Denson and Diamond Youth Organization (DYO) member Josh Page, how much could change in five months.

Denson, from in front of the field’s bleachers, waves a commanding hand over the press box, dugouts, and backstop netting. In the light of Broken Bow’s mid-June sun, the freshly painted structures glow red as a cape; everyone knows exactly what he is about to say.

“We’re excited about all these changes,” Denson said.

From the new railings outside the dugout to the red fence guard framing the outfield, Denson’s attitude is contagious: everything about Paul Brown Field is reinvigorated, though its newfound fervor feels rooted less in the product than the efforts put into it.

Dugouts were spruced up under the direction of DYO member Anson Bumgarner.

Denson points to an impressive, brand-new concession stand.

“City employees built that themselves. Sargent Pipe donated some poles. Diamond Youth Organization purchased the net, and Custer Public Power donated their time to put the poles in the ground. Josh Page, from Crete, was instrumental in getting their netting installed, and came down with some really great ideas on how to get ours done.”

Page is leaning against the bleachers with the smile of a man who enjoys talking about his work only slightly more than the work itself. “The city has been grateful enough to buy a new flagpole. We were going to make one with Sargent Pipe, but the city said they wanted an actual flagpole to make it right. It’s going to be 80 feet tall in center field.”

Paul Brown Field’s scoreboard, near the prospective flagpole site.

With such an immense flagpole, where could one possibly find a flag large enough to fly? Again, Page says, the community came to the rescue. “We have a very big flag to go on there. Russ Smith and his family graciously donated a flag to commemorate their brother who passed.”

“All three Smith boys played on this field years ago, and that’s how we know the backstop was 60 years old.”

The facility’s renovations come at a pivotal time for Broken Bow Legion baseball, says Denson.

“We were successful enough last year to qualify both our Juniors and Seniors for the state, which puts us on a plane of getting a state tournament. We’ve been getting to know the State Legion Board and the Umpires’ Association, and they’ve been out here to see our guys play, and they decided that it’s time for us to host a tournament.”

Despite completing the renovations and earning a Seniors tournament bid later this summer, both Denson and Page say their work on the facility is far from over.

“We’re going to do some line work and a little bit of dirt work before the tournament. Dan Knoell, city administrator, has a plan for a new press box, some new bleachers, a five-year plan,” says Denson.

Page gestures beyond the outfield fence. “If anyone’s looking to donate, we’re going to do the same thing for the softball girls over at Tyke Arnold; that’s the plan, and we’re going to start on that this fall. I want to give them the same treatment. We don’t want to exclude any group, and we want to promote all our DYO organizations.”

New structure built by city crews in the last few months to house restrooms, concession, and storage at Paul Brown Field.