A decade in the making, Bayou Bowl X festivities kickoff next week with a new event on the schedule. “Bobcat burgers and Cardinal sauce” will be served Monday at the Bayou Bowl Scholarship Banquet hosted by the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce.

Proceeds will award $1,000 scholarships to an Orangefield and Bridge City senior football player. Nominees are chosen for good sportsmanship.

“It is a goodwill event that brings together our communities and give the kids and coaches special recognition,” said Jerry McInnis, event chairman. “We want to show our appreciation with an evening of fun and scholarships.”

The banquet is set for the Community Center on West Roundbunch Road at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce and several other locations. Seating is limited.

It begins a week of Bayou Bowl activities that has become a tradition among high school football fans in the annual cross-community get-together. The finale comes on Oct 30 when the Bridge City-Orangefield Rotary Club awards the Buzzy Gunn Trophy immediately following the game. 

But there is more than Cardinal sauce to go with those Bobcat burgers at the first ever banquet. The players and coaches of Bayou Bowl X will each be introduced. Guest speakers include Gabe Pruett of the Orange Leader and coaches Josh Smalley and Brandon Prouse. Bobcat head coach Brian Huckabay and Cardinal head coach Cris Stump will add a few words. A slide show spanning the past nine Bayou Bowl contests will be on display provided by Mark Dunn of The Record Newspapers.

“We put this thing together for everybody,” McInnis said, “Next year we’re hoping to host a bigger event at Jewel Cormier Park.”

A friendly rivalry surrounds the Bayou Bowl that began in 2000 when UIL district realignment reassigned Bridge City from Class-4A to Class-3A. The change pitted the Cardinals with district repercussions against the neighboring Orangefield Bobcats. The Bayou Bowl was born – with the winner receiving the Gunn Trophy.

The trophy remains in the winning team’s trophy case for the duration of the school year.

It stands for good sportsmanship and memorializes local photographer Gunn. Gunn and his father, T.L. Gunn, were pioneers in photographing the early years of Orange County football.
Buzzy eventually became the second generation owner of Gunn’s Studio in Orange after shooting for various publications including Sports Illustrated. Later his contributions to local sports would become the only professional visual recordings of Orange County football as it was played for more than 30 years.

Gunn’s widow Dayle was the first presenter of the trophy following Bayou Bowl I. She also is among the speakers.

Tickets are available at the BCCC at 150 Roundbunch Road in Bridge City, 735-5671. Other locations include Trophy’s By Lee on Farm Road 1442 and Bette’s Gift Shop, 2011 Texas Ave. 

Sponsors include Re/Max Realty, Hitters, Hyde Environmental Services, Dr. Fred Zoch, Johnny Montagne and Robert Cormier, BCISD, Golden Triangle Family Care, Dishon Surveying, Bridge City Bank, Dr. John Hackbarth, Scot Shaffer-Farmers Insurance, Central Office Supply, Anytime Fitness, Bo and Stacy Weaver and Capital One Bank.