The Sunday, July 24, SC Featured on SportsCenter will tell the story of the cross-country team of the Hopi Native American reservation in Arizona. Representing a small high school, the team has won an unprecedented 26 consecutive state titles.
“Run Hopi” will debut in the 10 a.m. ET SportsCenter and will re-air in other editions throughout the day. In addition, the full 30-minute story will air Friday, July 29, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Front Row spoke with Scott Harves, producer of the piece for the ESPN Features Unit:
What drew you to this story?
Any time you hear about a team that had won that many straight state titles, it’s somewhat unbelievable. As I learned more about the Hopi reservation and saw a few photos, it looked like one of the most amazing places that most of us have never heard of in this country. Between this unprecedented streak and what appeared to be an unreal landscape and way of life that they have there, it made me wonder how the heck they do it.
– Scott Harves, producer
Was there any reluctance on the part of the Hopi to participate?
The Hopi tribe is a very private tribe – they ask for no photography or filming on the reservation whatsoever. I had a meeting with representatives and presented the story that we wanted to do on the cross-country team and had to get the blessing from the villages of the Hopi tribe. They put their trust in us that we’d respect their privacy. I’d driven through reservations before but I’d never spent time on one, and there are certainly a lot of things you want to respect, especially when you’re showing up with a camera crew trying to film around the reservation.
Where does this story rank among all of the interesting features you’ve produced?
I would say it’s one of if not the most unique places I’ve ever visited in the country. The combination of the landscapes and learning about the culture – it’s a hidden gem. Some of the villages choose to live without electricity and running water because that’s the way it’s always been. Some of them have modernized, a lot of them haven’t. It’s another opportunity for people to see a slice of America they otherwise might not have the opportunity to see. You always try to take the viewer to a place they’ve never been.