Anniston landmark field goal-kicking sign saved from demolition

A landmark field goal-kicking sign in Anniston avoided a career ending collapse.

Goal Post Bar-B-Q opened in 1960 and owner S.A. Pruett installed a neon sign with a kicker at the road.{} He kicked footballs through a goalpost and onto the roof of the building.

Pruett sold the restaurant several decades ago, and it closed in September.{} A crew is demolishing the building this week.{} The workers took the sign down from its posts Tuesday.

Mayor Vaughn Stewart said it would have gone to a scrap yard.{} He negotiated with the property owner and they reached an agreement to save the sign and return it to the family of the original owner.

"It's a piece of art and it helps tell a period of time in our history of Anniston when life was a little simpler," Stewart said.

"Owner-operators were able to kind of get out there a little beyond the margins as far as expressing themselves," he said.

"You think about today, you market a business in a whole different way, where signs are secondary, but back then, that was your main message."

Cathy Cofield is Pruett's daughter, and like her father, she owns and manages a barbecue restaurant in Anniston.{} Betty's Bar-B-Q is named after her mother.{} It is likely to become the new home for the classic goal post sign.

"I've been trying to get it since the day I found out the Goal Post was closing," Cofield said.

She tried unsuccessfully to acquire the sign from the current property owner, but the mayor arranged for a city public works crew to remove the sign and put it into storage before transferring ownership to Cofield and her family.

"It means a lot to me.{} I think that having the personal connection to it that I do makes it a little bit more special," she said.

"My entire life, that goal post sign has been up there.{} My whole family has been connected to it.{} It's really special to us that we're going to be able to restore it."

Cofield found a neon specialist to remove the light pieces and determine what needs to be done to get the kicker working at Betty's.

"We're going to keep as much of it original as we can and we're going to get him up and kicking," Cofield said.

San Jose State University communications professor Andrew Wood posted a series of videos to YouTube which show animated neon signs.{} He visited Goal Post during a barbecue tour in 2007, and recorded video of the kicker in action which you can see here.

"You could sit for periods of time just watching that and so you get caught up in it," mayor Stewart said about his visits to the restaurant as a high school student.

"He never missed.{} He was a great field goal kicker."