‘The end of an era’: Voices of Ducks, Beavers look back at history of rivalry game
EUGENE, Ore. (KPTV) - Friday’s in-state rivalry will mark the 127th time, and possibly last time, the Oregon State Beavers and Oregon Ducks will meet on the football field. FOX 12 recently caught up with a pair of iconic broadcasting teams who have been the voices of the game in the Willamette Valley for three decades.
Maybe you are working in the garage or those long Saturday drives, the Beaver State has been blessed with some golden tones of some memory making voices of the game.
“Whether it’s deer hunters out in the middle of the woods texting us, saying that they are listening around the campfire over in the central part of the state in the middle of nowhere,” said Mike Jorgensen.
“Blazing Saddles comes to mind,” said Jerry Allen.
Allen and Jorgensen have been the voices of Oregon Ducks Football for the past 35 years.
“Oregon was just a cute little story at the time, they are more than relevant now,” Allen said. “It’s been really cool to be part of that transition.”
Allen and Jorgensen have seen it all and called it all together.
“Like brothers, really. I look to Jerry as a father-figure and yet I look to him as a brother-figure because of the example that he sets and all the things that go with it,” said Jorgensen.
“I think he just took an age shot at me, I’m not sure but that’s what we do,” laughed Allen. “We love each other.”
Jorgensen loved playing QB for the Ducks from 1981-84.
“We’ve said that with a lot of rivals, a lot of the teams that we played this year, that we know we’re not going to play anymore or come here or whether we’ve gone to their home stadium, but Oregon State is different. It just is,” Jorgensen said.
In season 25 as the voice of Beavers Football, Mike Parker roomed in college with the two brothers of his longtime radio partner, Jim Wilson. Yes, “Doc” was a Duck.
“I guess I was, and I’ll own that, I graduated from there and I enjoyed my experience there and I was passionate about that time in my life but when I was blessed to get the opportunity that Oregon State gave me, to be the voice of the Beavers and my first breakthrough winning season in ‘99, my first day on the job. I got hired one day and the next day I’m in an RV with Dennis Erickson and I was a Beaver in that moment, have been through and through ever since, and I have absolutely loved the life I’ve had in Beaver Nation,” Parker said.
Parker and Wilson are in a 20th campaign as a team in the Beaver booth.
“This year is so strange,” Wilson said.
The Pac-12 departures have made for strange times indeed ahead of the 127th meeting between the Beavers and the Ducks as conference brethren.
“If it is the last, that’s painful. It’s a sad prospect,” Parker said.
“The money, the television, and it’s all superseded what has been a great and glorious conference for over 100 years, but it is a great, great game that its just an absolute sad time to think that this could be the end of that era,” said Wilson.
Wilson is an OSU Hall of Famer in football and baseball who grew up in Corvallis. Parker moved to Cottage Grove in 1973 and has seen every Duck and Beaver game in person ever since.
“It’s been such a big part of lives. For that game, that event, one of the first things I was ever asked here, ‘who are you pulling for in the Civil War?’ There were always bets on it,” Parker said. “It was a big deal, it’s always been a big deal, and I knew it almost from the first week I set foot in the Beaver State.”
Thanksgiving in the Wilson home is a lot like many around the state: a house divided.
“Bob, he gets there first, he’s a Beaver fan, first thing he says to me is, ‘Jimmy, the Beavers can win’ and then about five minutes later, John arrives. He opens the door, shakes my hand and he says, ‘Jim, what bowl will the Beavers go if they lose?’” Wilson said.
Family and history with an unknown future.
“It’s one of those games that someway shape or form, its gotta find its way back on the schedule because regardless of the bitter rivalry, regardless of the Orange and Black doesn’t like the Green and Yellow, a lot of mutual respect between the two schools,” said Jorgensen.
“This is the end of an era, and there’s so much more attached to this game and this season I think because of what’s looming,” Wilson said.
You can watch the Ducks and Beavers rivalry game on FOX 12 Oregon on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
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