The Smoker

BHS…A knockout?


From the 1982 Eagle Yearbook: “While blocking junior, Steve Markham’s punch, junior Allen Price strikes his opponent during the second annual Smoker boxing match.”

Lola Baum, Staff Writer

With the recent string of student fights at Broomfield High School, staff members are worried about stopping the violence.

A former teacher and girls’ basketball coach, Mike Croell claims to have the solution. Croell graduated from Broomfield, taught at Broomfield, and currently coaches here; he is the definition of “once an eagle, always an eagle”.

In 1981, the Broomfield booster club hosted a fundraiser called the St. Patty Day Brawl. In later years, it became The Smoker. The fundraiser was promoted by former football coach Larry Allen. This was no ordinary bake sale, or car wash fundraiser, this was massive. Croell recalls, “They brought in a Boxing Ring and put it in the middle of Wilkerson, this was a live boxing match.”

An excerpt from the 1981 Broomfield High yearbook explained, “For the first time in the history of BHS, students were treated to a boxing show called the St. Patty Day Brawl. There were 25 bouts featuring AAU boxers and BHS students. The gym was sold out and every bout regardless of skill was greeted enthusiastically by those that attended.”

AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union. The history of Amateur boxing relates back to the 1800s. According to Britannica, “In 1867 the first amateur boxing championships took place under the Queensberry rules. In 1880 the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA), the sport’s first amateur governing body, was formed in Britain, and in the following year the ABA staged its first official amateur championships.” How the lines got crossed from fights in Britain to a high school gym is fascinating.

From the 1981 Eagle Yearbook: Kevin Kochevar and Steve Hupher fight for the victory of their boxing matches.”

The boxing match was such a big hit that it became a tradition. In the second year of the fundraiser, they renamed it The Smoker. The line of spectators extended from the end of the senior lot through the hallway into Wilkerson gym. In the third year, it became so popular that they moved it to the Broomfield Recreation Center. “They squeezed over 900 people into the gym, I am sure they made over a thousand dollars,” said Croell.

The fights included any (male) student who wanted to participate. Croell highlighted members of the football team, from outside linebackers against the offensive tackles. Croell was even a part of a fight himself: “I was a part of the tag team match. I had never been so scared in my life.”

“I was with a guy named Steve Harris, and we fought his older brother Don Harris who was a sophomore. It was a lot of fun, and Steve Harris and I won,” said Croell.

After three years of students getting knocked out, the boxing matches came to an end in 1983. How they let it continue for three years is a mystery, but times are changing.

When Ginger Ramsey, current principal of Broomfield High School, was asked about whether or not she would bring back The Smoker she said “Absolutely…not.”

This brings up a good question, would having students dish it out in front of their entire class and community be a good idea? No. But, it is an interesting piece of Broomfield history that tends to get lost in translation.