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February 1999 Vol. XXVIII No.5
Thursday, March 11th @ 7:00pm
LHG Meeting, Carnegie Building
Museum Fund donors list: Roberta Hadley, Mrs. Dorothy Wallace, Gail Shearer, Jean& Dick Lerche, and Bill Junk
Also we owe an apology for carelcss editing: last month's list should have said Peder and Margaret Andersen, instead of mispelling one name and omitting the other.
Dan Mosier's new book History of Tesla -A California Coal Mining Town is available at the History Center for $29.95 plus tax. Dan had been researching this book since 1978. This is the most complete work ever assembled on the history of Tesla, which was located on Tesla Road. Be sure to pickup your copy.
The Livermore AquaRodeo and the Aquacowboys
by Barbara Bunshall
A swimming pool had been among the desired but
unpurchasable amenities for the "new" High School when it was built in the late 1920s. The Great Depression and the Second World War delaycd that acquisition still longer. In

mid-Noveniber 1947: "Work Starts on Swimming Pool" and by mid-April 1948 it was in use. The original plans for the pool called for it to be run by the Park District but in 1948 other cormmitments of LARPD made that temporarily impossible. Not until late Spring 1949 was the local newspaper able to report that tile Recreation & Park District was operating the high school pool. "Operating" included planning Lifesaving courses, Swim-To-Live sessions and being responsible for the summer (and in very warm years, early autumn) public use of the facility.

One of the first big events was headlined in the Livermore News in June 1951: "Invitations to file LARPD's "AquaRodeo", July 21 and 22 in the High School pool this week had been sent to 120 distiicts and swimming clubs in California including those in the southern part of the state, and also were mailed to Nevada, Washington and Oregon. C.S. Shelly, superintendent, said yesterday "while the competition will be the big event on the area's summer program, attempts also were being made to push it into the foreground of Pacific meets." Contestants were asked in 5 age classes: 8, 10, 12,14 & 16. "Because boys and girls compete in separate divisions, this will actually mean 10 classes."

"Attempts are being made to sign well-known swimmers for exhibition races and it is intended that among tile features will be demonstrations by baby AquaCowboys -- that is, the swimmers of really tender years" (Livermore News, ibid.)

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The meet Was Such a success that a year later the News reported "invitations have gone out for the Second AquaRodeo, and (hat the AAU age-group swimming championships ofthe Pacific Coast will be decided at the meet..." A week later the paper noted that the AquaRodeo had drawn interest from Cariadian clubs.
At the close of (lie 2"" AquaRodco the I Herald's Maitland Henry had a comment in his "Reflect ions of MRH I" column: "That Livermore is too close to the AquaRodeo to realize ,just how big all event it is was plainly evident when swimmers, coaches, officials and Pat cuts from Portland to Los Angeles spent last weekend here for the Pacific Coast championships. Not so much a lack of comprhension as to size, the entry I list of 378 swimmers of 28 Clubs being selfevident oil that score, but as to the meet's importance among swimmers of the entire Pacific Coast. It wasn't until there was a chance to mingle and talk with swim enthusiasts from out-of-town who really know their sport that most Liveimore people began to realize the high rating held by the meet." I he went on to praise the parents and swimmers for their hard work and dedication, doing almost all the work alone "who have accomplished marvels in building up this meet."
Through the years the AquaRodeo grew and in the process records were set and were broken. With the January 1958 announcement of the confirmation of the dates for that
years met the Herald comments: "It is famous throughout the nation as the largest, fastest and best organized meet in (lie country, with over 2200 entries participating last year." And in July the paper editorialized: "From a Day and a Half to Four Full Days-That's if the Aqua Rodeo". (The News chortled that the imect again rewrote the record book).
Then came a set back. February 1959 (lie paperannounced: 'AquaRodeo is canceled for this year: stringent new regulations of the AAU's Pacific Assoc, which would have kept almost all Livermore swimmers out of the AquaRodeo this year have forced LARPD to cancel the world famous mect". (The paper listed some of the regulations wine]) would have given almost all the control of the meet to the AAU and its appointed officials). But it cattle back (lie following year "scale ddown a bit front its earlier almost unmanageable size (smaller - it had nearly 2,000 individuals in 52 evcnts that year).
By 1969 The I lei aid (7/18/69) could comment "for the second time in its 19 year history the nationally famed AquaRodco swim meet will be held this year in a 50 meter Olympic distance pool...at Chabo Junior college..."(that was to meet the U.S. Olympic committee requireiments).
The AquaRodeo continued until the mid 1970s, always growing.


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February 29, 1999
Corrections: June 29, 1999
Link update: November 14, 1999