The first football game at Welch Stadium came on Armistice Day in 1937. The Hornets tied St. Benedict's College by a score of 20-20. More than 6,000 fans saw the first game in the facility. The largest crowd on record for a football game was the 1973 game against Northern Colorado. The record crowd of 10,000 saw the Hornets to a 10-0 victory as the Hornets vaulted to a No. 3 ranking in the NAIA.
The stadium is used by the local high school for games, college and community events, Special Olympics and other sporting events. The stadium currently hosts the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 5A state championship game, Emporia High School Football games and the Kansas Shrine Bowl all-star game every four years (the site currently rotates between Emporia, Pittsburg, Manhattan, and Hays).
Welch Stadium served three times as the site for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships.