Amy Cunningham
More than 1,000 middle school students are expected to descend on Gardner Edgerton High School on Tuesday, Nov. 9 for Rumble at the Ridge.
The annual event, started eight years ago as Fill the Fieldhouse, has morphed into one of the most anticipated contests for Gardner middle school students.
Fill the Fieldhouse was the brainchild of Wheatridge Middle School boys and girls basketball coach Jeff Davidson. Initially, Fill the Fieldhouse pitted WMS against another league rival.  Two years ago, after Gardner-Edgerton divided into a two middle school district, administrators thought the tradition should continue as an inter-district match-up.
Each year the host team rotates between Pioneer Ridge and WMS, and the contest rotates between a girls or boys basketball game. Angela Hansen, computer teacher at PRMS, said that last year the event was moved to the high school to accommodate the large number of attendees and to make the game extra special for participants.
“This is a very exciting event for our students,” she said.  “There is so much hoopla building up to it.  We hold a pep assembly before the event where we introduce our players.  The assembly is for grades five through eight; it’s the first assembly our 5th graders ers get to be involved in, so it’s really exciting for them.  There is so much hype all week and the excitement just builds.”
Hansen said that each school will design and sell its own unique t-shirts for the game.  On Tuesday the 9th, students will wear their shirts to school and then the shirts will act as their admission into the event.   With a t-shirt purchase students will receive two numbered tickets which will be entered into a drawing for prizes to be awarded throughout the game.  The schools will also have beads for sale starting on Thursday, Nov. 4.
On game day students will be dismissed from classes at 2:45 p.m. to attend the pep assembly.  Hansen said the goal of the game is to promote a sense of community between students from the two middle schools.  Prior to the game, the national anthem will be sung by a combined PRMS, WRMS choir.
The pep band will also be comprised from students of both middle schools.
Hansen expects an atmosphere of friendly competition and school spirit.
“They’ll paint their faces, color their hair, put on face tattoos, they’ll be chanting and cheering.  It is so much fun for them, they get to see their Wheatridge friends…because of the way our boundaries are some of these kids went to elementary school with some of those kids, they might even be next door neighbors,” she said.  “It’s neat that they do it at the high school, because our two middle schools feed into one high school; next year all those eighth graders are going to be ‘Blazers.”