As Turlock gets game-day-ready for tonight’s highly anticipated football game between hometown rivalries Turlock High School and Pitman High School, Amanda Encalade has no choice but to look to scalpers in hopes of purchasing a ticket to see her son play in his last Harvest Bowl after she and other parents were unable to secure tickets before they sold out earlier this week.
“It’s absolutely distressing. When we told our son, the look on his face was disheartening. He plays a majority of the game and he is upset that we can’t get in,” said Encalade, whose son is a senior at Pitman High School. “We can call the school and complain, but the fact of the matter is there is nothing they can do. The tickets are gone.”
Tickets for this year’s Harvest Bowl went on sale Oct. 27 for students and Oct. 28 for staff before going on sale for the general public, including Encalade and other parents, on Monday. Students and staff were only able to purchase one ticket each, while the general public was able to purchase up to four tickets.
“This practice was established prior to the 2015 Harvest Bowl with the purpose of encouraging staff and student participation from both schools,” said Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor. “Therefore, they were given priority to purchase tickets before the general public.”
Trainor said that a total of 3,400 tickets were available for purchase in the activities offices of both school sites this year. Tickets sold out at Turlock High on Monday afternoon, followed by Pitman High the following morning.
“Myself along with other parents I know weren’t able to go Monday because our work schedules did not permit us to go, but I went into work late on Tuesday and by the time I got there they were all sold out,” said Encalade. “My goal is that the school will change the policy for next year and give the same courtesy to parents that staff gets to purchase tickets before the general public.”
Trainor said that while both school sites and the district office have received complaints from those who were unable to purchase tickets this year, there is nothing they can do.
“Unfortunately, we can only accommodate the number of spectators that allows us to remain safe in the stadium as determined by state and local authorities,” said Trainor. “This has turned into a huge cross-town event seeing as how both teams are playing for a championship…which has definitely increased the demand for tickets.”
Trainor said that although the maximum capacity of Joe Debely Stadium is 3,737, there is a need to account for a number of other individuals and groups who will be present due to their participation in the Harvest Bowl, such as band members, coaches, cheerleaders, players, supervision personnel and Turlock Police Department. The district must also accommodate any individuals who attend on CCC and CIF passes, which they are required to accept as a CIF expectation.
In hopes of finding a way to attend tonight’s game, Encalade said that she has heard of people who are selling Harvest Bowl tickets they were able to purchase for $40 or more. Although the district has been told that this has occurred, Trainor said that they have not received any official confirmation of this practice.
“It is very disheartening as a parent to be unable to share in our son's last experience as a senior football player, as well as the effect it will have on him to know his parents are not there in the stands,” said Encalade. “As far as his last big game, this is it.”