The third annual Pigeon Bowl kicks off Friday. So, what’s the Pigeon Bowl, you ask?
According to legend, it all started with an innocent tweet from then McMinnville (Ore.) junior Bryce Clinton, who took a shot at folks from rival Forest Grove before a 2013 football game.
At the time of the tweet, the game had fallen from the top spot in KGW-TV’s weekly spotlight poll, but Clinton’s social media experiment ignited a fire under Forest Grove in the form of online votes, and soon the showdown received special attention from the local news broadcast.
Clinton’s motivational tactic worked to perfection, except the part where Forest Grove handed his McMinnville schoolmates a 43-34 defeat that year. And thus the Pigeon Bowl was born.
The rivalry carried over into the 2013-14 boys’ basketball season, when the two schools split their regular-season meetings as Forest Grove fans waved pigeon posters plastered on sticks in the stands, according to Oregonian legend. The following fall, a group of three wise men inside the Forest Grove athletic department — athletic director Doug Thompson, football coach Dwight Jensen and public address announcer Quinn Johnson — developed a trophy for Pigeon Bowl II to mimic college’s Red River Shootout and Little Brown Jug rivalry trophies.
“It’s nice to see that old-school rivalry, the way it used to be, where fans get fired up and the community gets fired up about the game,” Jensen told The Oregonian upon developing the idea in August 2014. “It’s the first time I’ve actually seen that in the years I’ve been here, and we wanted to do something to keep it alive, because there was a lot of energy and excitement it created for both schools. …
“It’s such a positive, friendly rivalry — nobody was hurt by it, and it was all in fun — so we’re trying to build on what we established last year with the Pigeon Bowl.”
Forest Grove won that one, too, taking home the trophy they created with a 35-28 win in 2014.
So, when the two teams square off for Pigeon Bowl III on Friday, Clinton — now a freshman at Oregon State University — won’t be in attendance out of superstition that he’s his school’s bad luck charm. “I have come to the conclusion that we have lost the two Pigeon Bowls I have attended,” Clinton told The Oregonian, “so I’m going to sit this one out.”
Never afraid to pigeonhole himself into a corner, Clinton still predicted the outcome: “28-20, McMinnville.”