The Friday before every Seattle Seahawks home game, a sea of blue and green jerseys can be found inside Bellmont Cabinet Company’s manufacturing facility in Sumner.
In anticipation for each game, employees show their spirit by dressing up and competing in the company’s Blue Friday competition.
The competition brings together employees from different departments to compete against one another in events from egg tossing to turkey bowling. For one event, employees attempted field goals through a forklift’s forks.
“It’s something people look forward to,” said Chris Cowan, brand manager for the company. “Every Blue Friday we host (the competition). It’s a good opportunity to cheer on your fellow teammates.”
It’s something people look forward to. Every Blue Friday we host (the competition). It’s a good opportunity to cheer your fellow teammates.
Chris Cowan, brand manager for Bellmont Cabinet Company
Around 300 employees work at the facility. The eight different departments include assembly, sanding, parts, finishing, machining, office staff, the company’s retail shop in Bellevue called Cabinet Trends and shipping/receiving. But for about 30 minutes every other Blue Friday, these eight departments come together for their love of the game and support of the Seahawks.
At every event, each department is ranked by how well it did: first place receives 250 points, while eighth place receives 30. At the end of the season, the department with the most points claims the “Bellbardi Trophy”— a play on the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy — and bragging rights for the year. It also has a chance to win a TV.
On Nov. 18, teams competed in turkey bowling. Seahawk mascot Blitz even made an appearance to play on a special team, but at the end of the day, the office team came out on top with a last-minute strike.
“Whoever wins this week gets to keep the trophy for the next two weeks,” said Steve Bell, president and CEO of Bellmont Cabinets.
On Dec. 2, teams competed in an egg roulette competition. The rules were simple: eggs are smashed on the heads of employees, and whoever gets caught with the raw egg loses. The employee from the finishing department came out the clean man and won for the team.
Bell’s son, Casey, helped come up with the idea for the Blue Friday competition a few years ago as an event for employees.
“One of our core values is fun,” Steve Bell said. “People spend a majority of their lives here and we don’t discourage people from having fun.”
One of our core values is fun. People spend a majority of their lives here and we don’t discourage people from having fun.
Steve Bell, owner and CEO of Bellmont Cabinet Company
Clayton Hitkel, who works in the machining department, came prepared for the turkey bowl in a bright green Seahawks jersey with matching green hair.
Hitkel said he enjoys that Bell “takes the time” to throw the events for his employees.
In 2014, Bellmont Cabinet Company employees were so excited about building kitchen cabinets for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, they made a video showcasing their spirit.
But even if an employee is a fan of a rival team, they have an opportunity to enter in a wager: If the rival team wins, the employee gets a new jersey. But if the Seahawks win the game, that employee has to get their picture put on the “Bellmont Blue Friday Wall of Shame” for the rest of the season.
“There’s always some people who root for the away team,” Cowan said.
At the end of each competition, employees gather outside for the tradition of raising the Seahawks flag while chanting the team’s name.
“Raising the flag is something fun to do,” said Nick Johnson, chief financial officer for the company. “People love the Seahawks here.”