Now & Then: Cañon City High School Memories 1975 & 1976

By Loretta (Stevens) Bailey, Jo (Stevens) Lozano (1975 CCHS), and Joe Lozano (1976 FHS)

Now:  I asked Jo and Joe if they would share some of their personal memories and awards they received from high school for this blog.  Rivals can bury the hatchet, seeing as Jo and Joe have been married for over thirty years. Both are retired; Jo from Head Start School and Joe from Black Hills Energy, and they raised six children.

Cañon City High School and Florence High School, the Tigers and the Huskies, have been rivals for generations, dating back to the late 1920’s.  Each generation has their memories and stories about this long-lasting and well-established competitiveness.  The memories or stories will most certainly be altered, depending on which high school the former students were from that are recounting the stories.

Cañon City Tiger Patch, year unknown. Courtesy Loretta Bailey.

As a 1960 graduate from Cañon City High School, I would like to share my memories regarding this rivalry from my time.  Each high school’s stamping ground was their town’s main street where the teenagers congregated in their souped-up cars. When one high school drove on the other’s turf was one of the quarrels that could lead to a fist fight. The other places were the opposing football fields. The vandals would make some kind mess that would indicate that they had been there during night. Revenge would no doubt take place. All bets were off and it was on.

Places I heard where the boys met for fights or drag races would take place out of town – such as the airport. Rudd Park was another meeting place. There would likely would be another squabble or two that could quickly turn to a fight. Dating another girl from the opposing high school would really stir up things – especially if she had another boyfriend.  My girlfriends and I dated boys from Florence and we never saw a fight.

September 15, 2020

Transcript of Recording at Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center

A Trumpet Player Injured

(L-R) 1973 Program signed by Bobby Herriot, 1972 Cañon City High School Music Record, 1975 Dakota Parade Patch. Courtesy Loretta Bailey and Jo Lozano.

Jo:  In 1975 our band went to Rapid City, South Dakota for a competition and it was a really a long bus ride with all those kids. When we finally got there and got our uniforms on, we were walking to a place where we would line up.  I was talking to someone and was not paying attention, like I usually do, and I ran into a parking meter and dislocated my little finger and bent my horn.

 I found the band instructor and showed him my finger.  He called an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. I had to ride in the ambulance with my little crooked finger.  When we got to the hospital the doctor examined my finger.  Then he grabbed and yanked my finger!  Then he put a splint on it. I went back to the place where we going to do the competition. And there had been a flood and they canceled it. 

I had to call home and my dad answered the phone, which he hardly ever did because he doesn’t like to talk on the phone.  When I told him where I was and what I had done to my finger he couldn’t believe it and asked, “how did I do it?”  When I told him that I ran into a parking meter he started laughing.

Cañon City Trumpets, 1975, Jo on right. 1975 Cañon City High School Annual.
Cañon City Band, 1973, Jo 3rd from right in 3rd row. 1973 Cañon City High School Annual.
Cañon City Band, 1973, Jo 3rd from right in 3rd row. 1973 Cañon City High School Annual.

Perfect Attendance* Honor Roll* Journalist

1975 Cañon City High School Graduation Tassel (left), Outstanding Journalist Award and Engraved Pen (top), Cañon City High School Class Ring (center), Perfect Attendance Award (right). Courtesy Jo Lozano.

Jo: One of my really good memories was when we had the awards assembly, in 1975. I didn’t have any idea that that I was going to get an award for perfect attendance for my three years in high school and two years in junior high school.  Then I was really surprised when I got an award for outstanding journalist for Skyline Flashes Newspaper. The students and teachers voted. I really didn’t expect to get it. That was my first year of writing for the school newspaper. I have always liked to write. I was really proud and excited to receive this award. I always liked going to school. I must have liked school since I never missed a day. 

Joe:  You never skipped school, just one time?

Jo:   No, I just said I never missed a day!

I was on the honor roll for three years with a 3.8 grade average and I ranked 16th out of 232 students.   I remember the rivalry between Florence and Canon City. You really didn’t want to date anyone from Florence.  I never went down on Main Street in Florence, but they would come up to Main Street in Cañon and drive up and down while we were driving on it. It has been going on for years and I bet it still is today.

Skyline Flashes, 1975, Jo on right in top row. Cañon City High School 1975 Annual.
Students Exploring Educational Careers, 1975, Jo on right in front row. Cañon City High School 1975 Annual.

Champions for Baseball & Basketball

Two Florence High School Letters (Basketball and Baseball), 1976 Florence Class Ring, League Champion Baseball Patch 1973, League Champion Basketball Patch 1975-1976. Courtesy Joe Lozano.

Joe:  I am talking about baseball in my freshman year. I played second base for varsity and we won the Pikes Peak League in 1973. I played third, pitcher, and catcher in my sophomore, junior, and senior years. I enjoyed catching the best because you are involved with all parts of the game. Then in my senior year we won Pikes Peak League for basketball. I played guard and made a lot of assists for baskets.

“Husky Pitcher Joe Lozano (far Right) intently watches the play at home plate.” 1975 Florence High School Annual.
Florence High School baseball team, Joe second from left in the front row. 1975 Florence High School Annual.
Florence High School Junior Varsity Basketball Team, 1975. Florence High School 1975 Annual.

Byron 6’ 6” * Joe 5’ 8”

Joe: I liked high school years. I had a lot of good times with my friends. We would get together and play basketball a lot of the time.  My best friend was Byron Wann and we still are in contact with each other.  He is 6’ 6”, I am 5’ 8”, and my wife Jo says he looks like a giant when we stand together. My other friends all through high school were Mike Thomas, Joe Cordova, and Rick Villagrana. We all liked to hang out together.

Another award was in basketball in my senior year in 1976.  I played all four years and I was a guard.  My neighbor Nick Mata another good buddy also played guard. We both made points and a lot of assists.  Byron was the center, Jim Bowie was the forward, and Peter Gramache, who was an outstanding athlete. We never played the Abbey or Cañon because they were triple A and we were double A.

Stuck in the Snow & Chicken Fried Steaks

Joe: I remember riding the school bus to Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida in the winter to play basketball.  One time we all were getting ready to start back home and the bus got stuck in the deep snow. We all had to get out and push the bus and finally we got it out.

We would go to a place in Salida call the Lamp Lighter and the school bought us supper.  We would all order a chicken fried steak, that was as big as a dinner plate. That was our highlight of the trip. If I bring it up, even today, with my buddies, they all remember the restaurant that had chicken fried steaks as big as your plate and not much else.

I was elected to be on the Student Council in my junior year.  Academically, I was average but I know I could have done better, but I kept busy with all my sports that I enjoyed.

Junior Class Student Council, Joe on right. 1975 Florence High School Annual.

A Running Back in Deep Mud

Joe: I played football my senior year and our team was not very good. I played running back.  I remember one year we were playing in Florence and there was a downpour.  We played the whole game in the deep mud.  We played St. Mary’s from Colorado Springs. They beat us seven to zero. You could hardly move or pick up your feet in that mud.

Got My Bell Rung & Ice Chips

Jo:  Tell them about the time you got your bell rung.

Joe:  Oh yeah, one year I got my bell rung. I got hit during practice and they say you see stars when that happens.  I saw stars!  My coach would hold up three fingers and ask me how many did I see?  I would say three and he would say, you are okay, get back in there. That was all they would do to check you. I could have had a concussion – must not have, because I got back in there.

They didn’t let us drink water when we practiced.  We started practicing in August. If you were caught drinking water you got into trouble. They said it was a sign of weakness. You could have ice chips, but not water.  They would have a horse trough full of ice chips for us. They would give us a break to eat on ice chips. Yeah, we were to be tough even if you died of dehydration, they say that he was sure a tough one.

Don’t Look Ethel

Jo:   I remember my graduation in 1975.  It was supposed to be outside on the football field, but had rained a lot.  We had it inside.  There was this one kid I didn’t like, he was a teaser and I won’t say his name.  But I really did not like him at all. He sat behind me in one of my classes and teased and teased me.

I don’t like my middle name, it is Ethel.  At this time there was a popular song out named “The Streak,” by Ray Stevens. When a streaker would run through a grocery store or other public places nude, a man would tell his wife, “don’t look Ethel!” When I walked up to get my diploma, they announced my full name – JoVeeda Ethel Stevens.

That’s when that kid yelled out, “don’t look Ethel!” I was so embarrassed, my face was beet red. [I just wanted to get my diploma and sit down.] Everybody was laughing! [My parents were there but we never did talk about it.] It sounds funny now, but [all is forgiven].

I always liked school and I remember going to prom, the Military Ball, and homecoming were special.

I liked the parties and I still keep in touch with some of my friends.  I had lot of good times and laughs with my friends.  It is sad but out of 94 kids I graduated with over 20 have died.

Now: I would like say thank you both, to my younger sister Jo and my brother-in-law Joe.  You did a splendid job with telling some of your personal stories from those happy days in high school.  You both seemed to take pleasure reliving those days. I know that I did listening to you.

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