150 Boise Icons: Blue Turf

awebb@idahostatesman.comApril 23, 2013 

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Did you know? Contrary to popular legend, ducks don’t crash into the Bronco Stadium field, mistaking the turf for water. But at the 2009 game against the Oregon Ducks, Bronco fans wore T-shirts proclaiming, “The myth is true ... Ducks really do crash on the Blue.” Boise State beat Oregon 19-8. (Pictured here, local historian and Bronco fan, Amber Beierle, during the Oregon game. Beierle had the honor of writing the interpretive panels about the blue turf at the historical museum).

DARIN OSWALD — Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

Boise State's blue turf is such an icon that it not only earned a spot on the Idaho Statesman's list, but is also part of the Idaho State Historical Museum's current exhibition, "Essential Idaho: 150 things that make the Gem State unique." The exhibition celebrates the 150th anniversary of the creation of Idaho Territory.

At the museum, "The Blue" is in good company, sharing space with the likes of Craters of the Moon National Monument, the phenomenon of geothermal heat, the Lilliputian-sized tennis shoes of pioneer Polly Bemis and other statewide icons.

When Bronco Stadium needed new AstroTurf in 1986, then-Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier had the idea to go blue. Other schools had used special colors in their end zones, but the Broncos were the first team in the world to color an entire field blue.

The trademarked turf quickly became legend. Other schools across the U.S. have followed the Bronco lead and installed colored fields. In 2012, Hosei University in Japan, which has had an academic and cultural partnership with Boise State since 2006, got its own blue turf.

During the first 25 years of the blue turf, the Broncos won 143 of 175 match-ups, further enhancing the legend of the Smurf Turf.

"Essential Idaho" continues through the end of the year at the Idaho State Historical Museum, 610 Julia Davis Dr.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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