The 113th annual Monon Bell Classic gets under way Saturday afternoon. The game is a continuation of a rivalry that produces a wide range of emotions. It's also a continuation of hard work and cooperation between Wabash College and DePauw University.
"It takes a tremendous amount of collaboration, between the athletics department, the alumni office and the public affairs office to pull off an event this size," said Jim Amidon, director of public affairs for Wabash College.
When the Little Giants' football team is fighting to keep the bell for the Wabash faithful this weekend, they will be playing in front of their biggest crowd of the year.
"I give great credit to Vern Mummert," said Amidon. "He takes care of all of the facility and security needs that allow us to expand our stadium from 4,500 to 12,000."
Wabash officials are expecting at least 4,000 fans from DePauw to come in on buses, and Amidon said that the college has to work with city officials and security to route the buses to the stadium, but then move the buses after the fans disembark.
"Crawfordsville police are always very cooperative with us," said Amidon.
The last time the game was at Wabash, in 2004, an all-time attendance record with 11,504 fans was set.
"While we are great rivals on the football field, we cooperate fully with DePauw and its alumni office, its public affairs office and its athletic department," said Amidon. "It is never a one-school show.
"We have to work together."
A large amount of the cost is recovered through the $15 game admission.
"If we get a big crowd, that typically covers the cost of security and the additional seating," said Amidon. "We don't make any money on it; we just try to limit what we lose.
"We try to provide a safe environment for as many people as possible to watch the game."
The public affairs office and alumni office have arranged a national telecast of the game through Denver based HDNet, which is owned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Wabash faithful will have the opportunity to catch the game all across the country.
"They will be televising the game nationally in high definition," said Amidon. "It is the second time HDNet has done it."
There will be alumni telecast parties, which is a gathering of Wabash and DePauw alumni, getting together to watch the game. Amidon said that they have 53 sites scattered throughout the country.
"We are very excited about the alumni telecast parties," said Amidon. "It takes a tremendous amount of work on the part of the alumni office to set those up."
Amidon said that Wabash's Sports Information Director Brent Harris has issued 80 sets of credentials to various members of the media. He said that there will be 30 photographers on the sideline of Saturday's game.
"All this for a small college football game," said Amidon. "It kind of puts this all in some perspective."
Even though fans have to wait until Saturday for the game, competition between the two schools starts during the week leading up to the big game. The student bodies compete in a blood drive to benefit the Central Indiana Regional Blood Center. There is also joint-fundraiser, benefiting the Montgomery County Family Crisis Shelter.
"The rivalry is embedded in the tradition of the school," said Amidon. "We don't have to pump much energy into it.
"It is a point of pride."