The Fordney Club has been involved with Arthur Hill’s Memorial Stadium from its inception in 1949, helping to raise money for its construction. The Club decided to use Memorial Stadium as the site of an annual football game to raise funds for United Fund’s Community Chest. The initial effort began an 18-year series which raised almost $100,000 for Saginaw charities.
The first "Red Feather" game took place on September 20, 1952 pitting Central Michigan College against St. Ambrose (Iowa). The CMC squad was coached by Bill Kelly, the former Arthur Hill mentor and Fordney Club member. Frank Brogger, former St. Andrews High School coach, was the St. Ambrose coach. CMC won 38-14 and former AHHS standout Vern Hawes ran for a 90 yard score. Other local athletes to play in that initial contest included longtime Michigan Lutheran Seminary coach Loren Dietrich, end Dick Kackmeister, Wes Harden, and freshman Jack Sears.
Central Michigan appeared in fifteen "Red Feather" games. In 1953, CMC lost 39-16 to Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The following year they beat the Gorillas of Wisconsin State 26-7, led by Vern Hawes, Al Quick and Art Engle. In 1955, they blanked Kansas State Teacher’s College 33-0, led by Herbie Raterink’s three TD’s with co-captain Dick Kackmeister at center. Jim Podoley was the star of CMC’s 1956 win over Bradley 38-33, rushing for 227 yards. AHHS grad, Don Weichart contributed at halfback.
The Chips lost to Bradley the next year 14-7, only scoring with 46 seconds left on a pass from Mike Sweeney to Brad Foltz. Walt Beach sparked CMC’s come-from-behind win in 1958 as the Chippewas dropped Hillsdale 19-13. Orie Lemanski completed a long pass to Jerry O’Neil to set up Beach’s first score. Hillsdale was coached by "Muddy" Waters. In 1959, Boiling Air Force General’s beat CMC 19-13.
Because of scheduling conflicts, Alma College and Ferris State played in the 1960 classic. Former Saginaw standout R.A. Stevens led the Ferris attack to a 33-0 rout of the Scots. Former AHHS guard Don Munger blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. In 1961 CMU played Northern Michigan University. The Wildcats drubbed the Chips 33-0. AHHS grad Roger McIntosh recovered a fumble in a losing effort. CMU lost 20-12 to NMU in 1962. Former Sts. Peter & Paul quarterback Pat Boyd led the CMU attack. Wildcat standout Bill Rademacher played left end and went on to coach NMU in the late ‘70s.
In 1963, CMU lost to Bradley 12-6. Boyd passed to Larry Moore for CMU’s only score. The Chips began a three game set with Wisconsin State (Whitewater) in 1964. CMU won 13-7 and Frankenmuth’s Ken Bickel, a 200 pound middle guard, led the defensive charge. In 1965, CMU won going away as Boyd accounted for 211 of CMU’s 248 total yards, hitting 16 of 27 passes for 162 yards. In Coach Kelly’s final "Red Feather" appearance in 1966, Wisconsin State blasted the Chips 40-16. Buena Vista’s Bruce Cameron kicked a PAT and a 21 yard field goal. Under new head coach Roy Cramer, the Chippewas lost the next two meetings in 1967 and 1968.
Alma proved anything but charitable in the final "Red Feather" classic beating Blufton College 38-8. Coach Denny Stolz guided a veteran team on an 18 game win streak. The Fordney Club decided to donate profits in the early ‘70s to area charities and athletic organizations. Calling the game the "Fordney Charities Classic" in 1971 and 1972, Alma hosted Ferris State and won two closely fought contests. Alma won 7-6 in the first game with Rick Johnson kicking the winning PAT after a 1 yard score by Larry Hourtienne from Millington. The final game went to Alma 12-9, on a 14 yard fumble recovery by Bad Axe standout Don Schelke. The "Red Feather" netted the United Fund over $75,000 over the first 17 years and the two charity games netted another $13,000 plus.
In 1997 the Red Feather game was revived by the Fordney Club with the proceeds of over $25,000 going to benefit Saginaw County youth athletics. Saginaw Valley State University beat Michigan Tech 45-28 in the revival of the "Red Feather" Classic that year. A great tradition of exciting football once again entertained and thrilled local football fans and a new tradition of raising funds for youth athletics was established. SVSU then defeated Fairmont State College in 1998 by a score of 23-7 and lost to Ferris State University 56-14 in 1999.
In 2000, the Fordney Club elected to involve high school teams for the first time in the Red Feather Classic. The Arthur Hill High School Lumberjacks hosted the Midland High Chemics in the inaugural high school game. The Lumberjacks won the contest 18-7. In the 2001 version of the game, Arthur Hill played the Heritage High School Hawks which won 17-6.
In 2002 the Fordney Club decided to begin inviting teams from throughout Saginaw County to participate in the Red Feather game in alternating years. The first of these contests featured the Nouvel Catholic Central Panthers who defeated Michigan Lutheran Seminary Cardinals 42-12. The 2003 game again featured Arthur Hill which lost to the Midland Dow Chargers 34-0.
In the 2004 classic the Frankenmuth Eagles defeated the Swan Valley Vikings 28-14. The Heritage Hawks came to Arthur Hill Memorial Stadium and defeated the Arthur Hill Lumberjacks by a score of 36-16 in 2005. In 2006 the Reese Rockets edged out the Hemlock Huskies on a rainy night 28-25, and in 2007 the Heritage Hawks beat the Arthur Hill Lumberjacks 49-34.
In the 2008 game the Fordney Club proudly welcomed two experienced teams to this Fall classic. In the season opener for both schools, the host Nouvel Catholic Central Panthers again took on the Flint Hamady Hawks, this time at Arthur Hill Memorial Stadium. The Panthers scored early and often coasting to a 55-6 victory over the Hawks before 2,500 fans. The 2009 game featured the Heritage Hawks running for 286 yards and intercepting four passes, ruining Anwar Jackson's Arthur Hill coaching debut with a 38-26 Saginaw Valley League win. Last year’s Red Feather game was a 28-21 win for Birch Run over Chesaning at Arthur Hill Memorial Stadium. Once again, the Fordney Club of Saginaw was able to raise funds to support Saginaw County Youth Athletics thanks to the many supporters.
This year the Red Feather game will return to the collegiate ranks. The Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals will host the Ferris State Bulldogs at Harvey Randall Wickes Stadium on September 10, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.. The game will be the home opener for SVSU and will include the unveiling of their newly renovated stadium.