Think back to your high school days and think about the traditions you remember the most. Chances are that while they may have made for fond memories, they weren’t anything like what happens during ADM High School football home games.
If you’ve ever been around the Adel area on Friday nights during the fall sports season, you’ve probably heard several loud booms. While sometimes that may instill cause for concern, inside Tiger Stadium, it’s nothing but cause for celebration. Every time the sound of a cannon goes off followed by bright lights in the sky, that’s the signal that ADM football has found the end-zone for a touchdown. It also marks the conclusion of the National Anthem and marks as the official, unofficial start to the game. In fact, the tradition started with the boom following the National Anthem.
It’s a tradition that has been intertwined with football at ADM ever since the days playing at Kinnick-Feller Park. Under the direction of Bob Button and former athletic director Bill Kimber, the berth of one of central Iowa’s most unique traditions began. Since the tradition’s inception in 1973, football fans of all ages have continued to enjoy what has been a big part of the electric atmosphere, one that ADM superintendent Greg Dufoe has become all too familiar with over the course of his 12 years at ADM High School.
“Coming into things 12 years ago I knew about the tradition and how unique and special it was,” said Dufoe. “Right away I felt just how special it was for the community. We want the experience for our fans, coaches, and players to be as great as we can make it and this does that.”
Of course, in order to help continue the electric atmosphere, there needs to be someone available to bring the boom, the cannon boom that is. From Button to Kimber and many others in between, there have been many to bring the tradition to life. Across the last four years, that atmosphere electrifying responsibility has gone to none other than Lucas Asche, current Director of Buildings and Grounds at ADM High School. There is a lot riding on the boom of the cannon and such importance is not lost on Asche who views the cannon as both exciting and serious.
“It’s a big deal and something that brings people all across the community together,” began Asche. “It’s also something I find very gratifying and exciting. It’s just not something you see every day and to be a part of something special like this is amazing.”
The amazing begins with every National Anthem and continues on with every end-zone trip. With such a great act comes with great responsibility to make sure things go smoothly and for Asche, that means a slightly updated way of doing things. From what once was light and run away scenario, Asche has brought forth a modern and safer approach.
“What we use now is a remote-controlled starter,” began Asche. “Beforehand someone would have to light the fireworks up close and quickly hurry away. That has the potential to really hurt someone so we thought it best to light things off from a distance. It’s safer for all involved and has far less chance of accidentally firing in the wrong direction.”
Safety, in fact, has been at the forefront of Asche’s thinking when addressing his fireworks cannon rig. In order for the dynamic experience to be enjoyed following each score, safety precautions have to be followed and that includes thinking about the weather.
“There is so much to pay attention to outside of the rig itself,” said Asche. “If the wind is blowing the right way and we’re not careful, all the smoke could fall on the field and cause a stoppage. Paying attention to the weather is critical to making sure things go off without a hitch.”
It’s been a successful outing every time out and every successful cannon boom and thus helping to make a mark on every memory made within the confines of ADM Stadium. Such memories have been shared across many people over the years including long-time ADM football supporter John Harada. Since arriving in the Adel-Desoto-Minburn area back in 1991, he has been able to experience a multitude of great memories.
“It’s a very cool tradition that really adds to the game and just makes it that much more fun for all the fans attending the game,” said Harada. “It’s fun to watch the new parents who come into town and experience the fireworks for the first time. It’s a tradition that would be very missed if it went away, it’s always marked the successes of ADM football.”
There were several years that Harada was able to bring to mind that really stood out to him including the years of Gavin Glenn and others from 2008-2011 which capped off with a 12-1 season in 2011.
For the 2019 season, tonight will be the final chance for the booming of the fireworks cannon and a continued tradition. Thanks to great people like Lucas Asche, it’s a tradition that continues on loud, proud, and safer than ever.