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Thousands gather to say goodbye to former Bulldog Stadium

More than 2,500 people attended a final farewell celebration at the former Walterboro Bulldog Stadium on Saturday, with classes being represented at the event from the last four decades.
The event was planned by two former Walterboro High School graduates: Kellye Whitaker, chairwoman of the event, and John Gibens, co-chair of the event. Whitaker, who graduated in 1986, said she and Gibens, who is a 1983 graduate, saw memories on a Facebook page. This prompted the two to begin planning a farewell tailgating event at the former Bulldog Stadium. The stadium is now abandoned and is being demolished by the Colleton County School District. As a part of the agreement for the demolition, the former football stadium will be turned into a community “green space.”
Whitaker said on Tuesday that she had “no idea” how big of an event the final tailgating party would become. “I was expecting 200-300 people,” she said with a laugh. Whitaker required that every participant register online. “By Thursday night, registration was upwards of 1,800. The final headcount hasn’t been tallied yet, but we had more than 2,500 people registered by Friday,” she said.
The Saturday event brought together dignitaries, elected leaders, former classmates, and former coaches. Walterboro Mayor Bill Young, who was the former Band of Blue director, also attended the Saturday event.
In all, graduating classes from 1963 to 2014 also chose to tailgate at the event. The 1963 class was the oldest class represented on Saturday. Those who tailgated were required to pay a minimal $50 donation. This money will be combined with other donations collected on Saturday and with sponsorship funds to pay for a new college scholarship that will be awarded in 2020 to a Colleton County High School senior, said Whitaker.

“This entire event was meant to celebrate the memories of sports, music, and good friendship,” she said. “We also wanted to bid farewell to the actual stadium. That was a gathering place for all things family and friends for many years.”
According to Whitaker, four different schools used the stadium before the new Colleton County High School Stadium was constructed. Those schools included the Colleton Training School, the county’s former all-black school that was in existence before de-segregation.
“I am so happy, and I am so tired,” she said, laughing, on Tuesday. “This was an amazing event. Amazing.”
The event was supported through several sponsors. The money from the sponsors helped to pay for event insurance, toilets, and other event needs. Some of the raised funds will also go toward the scholarship: the exact amount collected by the sponsors and the donations from Saturday is still being tallied as of press deadline on Tuesday.
The Gold Sponsor for the event was Pizzaro Law Firm. The Silver Sponsor was Johnson Insurance Agency. Bronze Sponsors were PRTC; S and A Unlimited; Joe Nathan Chaplin, Esq., Class of 1985; Mathias Chaplin, Class of 1987; Elegant Settings; Starlight Car Wash and Detailing; JJ Fence Company; The Class of 1987; The Class of 2002; and Big Tyme Riders.

Heather Walters (1626 Posts)