- Associated Press - Monday, January 28, 2019

RUTLAND, Mass. (AP) - While the cities of Boston and Los Angeles are surely betting up a storm over the outcome of Super Bowl LIII, two other communities are more perfectly centered on the issue.

Rutland Town Administrator Michael J. Nicholson, who manages affairs in the geographic center of Massachusetts, has a bet going with Arnoldo Rodriguez, city manager of Madera, California, that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Madera County claims to be the geographic center of California. Mr. Rodriguez is betting on the Los Angeles Rams winning the big game.

Mr. Nicholson said the winner will receive a gift basket of items from the loser’s town and county. The contents of the baskets are still being determined. Madera County being known for its wine, he said, the Madera basket will have wine in it.

Both community leaders are relatively new to their jobs. Mr. Nicholson started Jan. 14 and Mr. Rodriguez was hired in November.

The two managers are serious football fans. Mr. Nicholson was a member of the Gardner High School and University of Massachusetts bands, which regularly played at football games.

“The first thing Arnoldo said to me, he is still sore over a call made against the Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl,” Mr. Nicholson said. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-17 in that game.

Mr. Nicholson said Mr. Rodriguez told him if there is any way for him to avenge that call, he is all for it.

The official geographic center of Massachusetts is on Central Tree Road in Rutland, where a tree marks the spot. The center of California is in Madera County, about 38 miles from the city of Madera in the unincorporated area of North Fork in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. North Fork is under the administration of the city of Madera.

With a center of town at 1,200 feet elevation, Rutland is also highest town between the Berkshires and the Atlantic Ocean, and was once known for its clean air. A resort was set up in town in the 1800s for tuberculosis patients.

Mr. Nicholson said there will likely be a bottle of Rutland air in his basket and possibly something with a tree theme to note the central tree.


Online: https://bit.ly/2RnaNCV


Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com

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