Wilsonville's first football announcer to retired after season
For the last 22 years, the voice of Wilsonville's football team has been John Ludlow. Since the school opened its doors in 1995, Ludlow has been calling the home football games alongside Justin Sutton, the scoreboard operator during that same time. But Ludlow has been involved in the football history of Wilsonville high school in more than just oratory capacity.
In 1995, shortly after the high school opened, Ludlow was one of the people who really made a push for the stadium as it is now known to be constructed.
"I got ahold of a friend of mine who owned Interstate Trucking, and I said, 'I need a trailer so I can cut it up, make windows in it, and announce from it,'" Ludlow said. "So he gave me a trailer hut, drug it out there, and put it up.
The press box was up, and the games were being covered. Figuratively though, not literally. The home crowd still had to endure the weather. Ludlow set about to try and remedy the situation.
"We had no cover over on the home side, and people weren't happy," Ludlow said. "So I went to work trying to find money. I got a bunch of people together, and a resident said, 'My uncle might want to contribute a large amount of money.' So I got to see him. He was one of the biggest apartment developers in the northwest, Robert Randall. He says, 'How much do you need?' I said, '200.' And he called me the next day and said he was going to give me $200,000."
This contribution led to the schoolboard naming its newly constructed stadium after Randall. By 1996, a year after the inaugural football season, Randall Stadium was functioning and covered. Ludlow had himself a gig. He has called many a game and has a plethora of memories from his time in the box. But the one that sticks out does not relate to any activity on the field. Rather, it was almost a collision that took place in the press box.
"When I built that press box, I didn't insulate between the walls, so we can hear the coaches on both sides talk," Ludlow remembered. "So the opposing head coach, you've never heard the swearing epithets released by that man. He was yelling this and that, and also talking to the microphone, and swearing away. So I said, 'Shut up.' I hear, 'What did you say?' I said, 'Shut up, you jerk!' In he flies with two coaches holding onto his arms ready to duke it out with me. He was absolutely willing to go to war because I chastised him for being a jerk. I've never heard another coach or coaches talk in the box in that press box like that since then."
Near fisticuffs aside, Ludlow also remembers watching the school presence and community involvement grow inside Wilsonville's stadium.
"There's certainly more people there. In '95 we weren't that big of a school, we didn't start out too big. The crowds are certainly more active. There's certainly a lot more middle school kids running around. I think their parents just drop them off. But the crowds are into it. There's much more support on the field. After the game now, the whole crowd crashes the field and that's great to see. They have some chants and stuff, and I think it's great."
When his time behind the microphone is over, Ludlow still thinks he will return to watch the Wildcats duke it out on the stadium that rose up those 21 years ago.
"I'll probably go to some games. I often look forward to just sitting at a home game to watch a game. It's one thing if it's away. I'll probably be going to the games because I do enjoy them. Nobody needs help announcing, I won't be critical of anybody announcing. God bless them for doing it because a lot of people are scared to get on that thing."