Joe Chase's 2013 Gophers’ state championship poster will be unveiled at the Chatfield Center for the Arts on Sunday, March 23. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Joe Chase's 2013 Gophers’ state championship poster will be unveiled at the Chatfield Center for the Arts on Sunday, March 23. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Chatfield resident Joe Chase has drawn a touchdown for state.

"I'd already done three of these in the mid-'90s - 1994, 1995 and 1996," he said. "I did the first one in 1994, thinking it would be a long time before the team would be state champions again. My good friend, Chris Grutzmacher, and I collaborated on that and made it a fundraiser for the senior class trip. It was to my great pleasure and amazement that they won again in 1995 and 1996, and the lads did it again this year."

Chase has once again drawn a commemorative poster celebrating the accomplishments of the 2013 Chatfield Gophers football team, a keepsake of the remarkable trip to the state competition.

A public unveiling of Chase's 2013 Gopher state football poster is set for Sunday, March 23, at 3 p.m. in the Chatfield Center for the Arts' American Legion Room. Attendees will be able to share the occasion with Gopher players, coaches and their families.

Chase elaborated, "This time, I'm collaborating with Kelly Puent at the high school, and the sale of these posters is a fundraiser for the arts at the high school - the visual arts, speech and drama departments."

He explained that he draws from photographs and had two great sources of some fine photography.

"Sam Clemens took thousands of pictures of this football team, so if I needed great photographs of a running back, I asked her for one, and she'd let me use it. She's just got a treasure trove," Chase added. "She had a wonderful selection of pictures to choose from. The central photo on this poster, of Jake Neis, was taken by Jerry Olson of the Post-Bulletin, and once I got the photographs together, I just imagined how they all ought to go together."

The poster features the Winona State University (WSU) scoreboard's account of the final seconds of Chatfield's 13-10 win over Caledonia, the game that sent the footballers to state, and moments from their last game ever played in the Minnesota Metrodome, as the Dome was demolished this winter.

Chase explained that he used the WSU scoreboard as it appeared in the last play of the Caledonia game because Caledonia had won 36 games straight and gotten three straight state championships.

"When one of the boys suggested the scoreboard as part of the poster to my son, he passed that on to me, and it became a big part of the picture," he added. "Picking the pictures for the poster was a great time. The only challenge of this is that it takes a long time. It's really meticulous work."

Chase expressed his gratitude to Puent and Chatfield Superintendent Ed Harris, who approved his plan to honor the Gopher team once again.

"Kelly Puent and Ed Harris were very receptive to the idea, and they backed me from the get-go," Chase said. "I appreciate their willingness to go with this very much. I'm a big fan of this team, and it's fun to relive their accomplishments by doing these pictures. It's mostly just a great time."

Chase added that he's not ready to retire his art supplies, noting he's willing to do these kind of projects as long as the Gophers keep winning.

"I'd love to do another one every fall because I love watching these kids play," he said. "They'll be able to commemorate the moments of when they went to state and won...it's a way for them to look back 20 years from now and feel some warmth about going to state as a team."