MARQUETTE - Displaying a representative cross section of athletics at Upper Peninsula high schools from the past 130 years is no easy task.
Dan Truckey of Marquette has been attempting to make it happen the past few months at Northern Michigan University, however.
The director of the Beaumier Center at NMU, Truckey and his staff have been collecting memorabilia from numerous high schools across the peninsula for inclusion in the "U.P. Power! High School Sports in Upper Michigan" exhibit.
Dan Truckey, director of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University, adjusts the placement of the 2008 Marquette Senior High School hockey state championship trophy that will be among the items displayed at the “U.P. Power! High School Sports in Upper Michigan” exhibit opening Saturday in Room 105 of the Cohodas Building. (Journal photo by Craig Remsburg)
The exhibit will make its debut at 1 p.m. Saturday in Room 105 of the Cohodas Building on the NMU campus. The exhibit will be on display at the Beaumier Center through March 30, 2013.
A reception for the exhibit, which will include several U.P. sports legends on hand for the event, will also be held Saturday.
"Deciding what was going to stay and what was to be left out (of the exhibit) has been the hardest part," Truckey, the exhibit's curator, said.
"A lot of very worthy athletic teams, coaches and players who could have been included aren't. It made for some very difficult decisions."
He said the exhibit's title comes from a popular chant often used by U.P. sports fans when teams compete downstate in MHSAA tournaments.
"No one is sure when (the chant) originated, but it became a rallying cry for U.P. teams after the 1975 state football championships when both Ishpeming and Crystal Falls-Forest Park won titles on the same day," Truckey, 45, said.
The exhibit will feature stories about the greatest teams, players and coaches in U.P. high school sports history.
Photographs, trophies, jerseys and other memorabilia will be displayed. In addition, an interactive computer station with statistics for many boys and girls team sports will be included.
"The artifacts for the exhibit will be on loan from high schools, historical societies and individuals from throughout the Upper Peninsula," Truckey said, "and will represent the greatest stories in U.P. sports history."
For example, the Chassell boys basketball team that went undefeated from 1956-58 and won three state titles will be featured.
So will the 1975 Ishpeming High School football team that stopped Hudson's 72-game winning streak in the Class C state championship game; the 1976 Marquette Senior High School girls basketball team that claimed a Class A crown; and the CF-FP football teams that have dominated state tournaments for years.
Such legendary coaches as Ishpeming's CC Watson, Marquette's Milton "Mickey" Johnson, Ewen Trout-Creek's Nancy Osier, Calumet's Jim Crawford and Menominee's Ken Hofer will be mentioned in the exhibit.
In addition, athletes like Rapid River's Sara Boyer, Iron River's Christy (Salonen) Provost and Brimley's John Payment will be included in the exhibit.
Boyer starred for the Rockets' girls basketball team; Provost won five state titles in skiing while at West Iron County High School; and Payment still holds the state prep record in the high jump in all classes with a 7-foot, 1-inch leap in May of 1989.
Truckey said a committee of sportswriters, historians and coaches/athletes was formed in January to come up with the basic framework of the exhibit, develop an outline and identify players/coaches/teams that would be featured.
"We (at the Beaumier Center) thought this (exhibit) would be fun and different from the exhibits we've done in the past," Truckey said.
"We thought the exhibit would be something people would enjoy and attract an audience.
"We also thought there are just a lot of great sports stories out there," he added. "That's what we're about, remembering our past and the events that are important."
Truckey, a 1985 graduate of Munising High School and a former prep athlete at Munising and Wakefield, said he has enjoyed meeting many of the people who will be included in the exhibit. But he added it has been time-consuming gathering memorabilia for the exhibit.
"The last three weeks, I've been traveling all over the U.P. to get memorabilia from people," he said. "Just getting the artifacts alone has been a major undertaking, a lot of work."
Truckey is confident those viewing the exhibit will enjoy the experience.
"I think what people will like the most is the broad spectrum of sports in the exhibit," he said. "There's stuff from all over, involving many different sports.
"I think it will grab people's attention."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.