OSF Spotlight: Meet the man responsible for an iconic, rare piec - KPTV - FOX 12

OSF Spotlight: Meet the man responsible for an iconic, rare piece of Rip City audio

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If you've listened to a Blazers' radio broadcast since 1991, it's likely that you've heard "Wheels" or "Schonz" before him reference a man they call "The Captain."

Rich Patterson has been the network producer for Blazer radio the past 26 seasons, plus a stint in 1984. 

The Portland-born and raised "Blazermaniac" is also responsible for an iconic piece of Rip City audio. 

"I grew up listening to the Blazers. 'Schonz' (Bill Schonely) was an idol to me," said Patterson. 

Just shy of 15 years old in the summer of '77, the Trail Blazers' championship spirit carries on 40 years later for Patterson. 

"I couldn't find a blank cassette so I sneak into my parents' bedroom and I steal what looked like the best quality cassette," he said. 

Gone was Dad's Lawrence Welk, erased and replaced by a piece of Blazer history.

"I can remember this like it was yesterday, thinking I was just going to have it for my own archives forever," said Patterson. 

An in-house thief for the betterment of Blazermania. 

"I didn't realize until I started working for the Blazers in '84, that they didn't have audio of the game," said Patterson. "The station didn't tape it, or if they did, the tape got lost." 

So if it wasn't for the teenage Patterson and his swiped cassette, there might not be any audio of Schonely's Game Six call of the NBA Finals when Rip City became title town. 

"For years, even to last week when they had the reunion of the championship team, the audio you heard was off this old tape," said Patterson. "Old, crackly … it sounded like it was off the radio." 

The audiophile is also a videophile. Patterson is a bit of a curator from the glory days of Portland Wrestling, thanks to his friendship with the late, great Buddy Rose. 

"I got to know Buddy pretty well in the early '90s after Portland Wrestling had gone off the air and I talked about how, 'Boy, it would be great to have video of old Portland Wrestling'. He goes, 'Well, I have some in my garage. I have me and Lonnie Mayne and Jimmy Snuka' and I'm going, 'Gosh, I need to see this,'" said Patterson. "He takes me into his garage and he has this huge duffle bag, and it's filled with about 40 of these tapes." 

The classics from the squared circle were saved from a landfill after salvaging another relic from an obsolete form of home electronics.

"I went on a search to find out what format this was. It took me about a year to find out this was a format called the Quasar Great Time Machine," said Patterson. 

The tapes pre-date both Beta and VHS, but Patterson was able to locate that Great Time Machine, get it in working order, and digitize what he could. 

"As it turns out, I have about 13 hours of Portland Wrestling from the 1970s. That’s all that exists," he said. 

After Rose passed in 2009, Patterson acquired another 1,200 tapes containing more than 300 hours of Rose City grappling of yesteryear. 

"One thing I've been able to do with these tapes is give some of the wrestlers that were in town, who worked, before he passed away, I gave a number of the DVDs to Roddy Piper," said Patterson. "The least I can do for these guys, since they busted their butt, working six or seven days a week, and not making a ton of money, is I can say thank you to them by giving them copies of their work."

"The Captain" is a piece of Portland sports history himself, serving as a ball boy during the inaugural season of the 1975 Portland Timbers. 

"They made victory laps after every win. I got to be a part of the victory," said Patterson. "Just recently someone found video of that on YouTube, so I am able to see myself behind the goal when they beat the Seattle Sounders." 

A high school graduate of David Douglas, Patterson has an 8-year-old son who is line to procure all of his tapes, cassettes, DVDs and digital files. 
You can also hear "The Captain" as a radio DJ Saturday afternoons at 2 p.m. on 95.1, KISN FM. 

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