DODGE CITY'S NELSON SINKS HIS TEETH INTO
FOOTBALL, MUSIC, CAREER
Just a glance at Paul Nelson's resume indicates his interests are broad and his career goals lofty.
The Dodge City lineman (6'3", 260 pounds) not only excels in football, but music as well. And he's already on a career path, one that he expects will make him a dentist.
Nelson's selection to the 2007 Kansas Shrine Bowl is the fulfillment of a long-time dream. He has wanted to play in the game since he was 8 or 9 years old. "Ever since I've been a kid, my mom's been telling me about it. She's known some mothers of guys who have played in the game, and knows it's a great honor. I've been hoping to play in the game since I was 8 or 9. It's a dream come true."
However, even with that goal in front of him, Nelson has managed to achieve significant success in areas away from football. He is an Eagle Scout, having been named VFW Eagle Scout of the Year. He's participated in Boy's State, and has earned a Superior rating in the high school music competitions as a trumpet player. He's also been part of his school's jazz band at Dodge City.
When it comes to music, Nelson says his parents "kind of pushed me toward it. But I enjoy it. It gives me a chance to express myself in different ways. And if I ever get hurt playing football, I'll have another way to get a scholarship in college. That's one reason I've stayed with it."
Part of his musical background is his participation in the jazz band. "That's been the best part of playing," he says. "They (the jazz band members) are the best players in school. Everybody is really good,
and everybody really pushes each other to be a better musician." He says in some ways music is a lot like football, except for the physical aspect. "You have to practice a lot to get really good," he says.
His musical talent has led him to participate in an activity where the harsh realities of life--and death-- are present. He has served a military bugler at several graveside services for veterans. One incident stands out. A mother of a soldier killed in Iraq approached him after the funeral to thank him, and with tears in her eyes presented him with some Iraqi money that had belonged to her son. Nelson says it's an honor for him to honor veterans by being a bugler. "It's easy for me to go and play," he says. "It's the least I can do to honor the people that died for our country."
As for his career in dentistry, Nelson is already making preparations by working in a dentist's office this summer. Before he goes to dental school, however, there is the matter of college. He will play football this fall in his hometown, signing to play at Dodge City Community College, where he's already working out daily in preparation for the upcoming season. After that, he wants the chance to play Division I football before heading to dental school. He does not have any particular school in mind. "At this point, it doesn't matter," he says. "I just want the chance to play at the Division I level."
Proceeds from the event support the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals that provide expert, no-cost orthopedic and burn care to children under 18. Children are admitted totally free to Shriners Hospitals for Children without regard for race, religion, nationality, creed, or relationship to a Shriner.
The 2007 Kansas Shrine Bowl will be the most family-friendly ever, with several events taking place during the day. Planned events include a 5K Run for Charity, a day-long Arts and Crafts Fair, a Kid's Fair, the annual Kansas Shrine Bowl Parade, a high school football combine, and a Charity Poker Run that will include cash and prizes. Advance reserved chairback tickets for the all-star game are $20.00 in advance, $21.00 on game night. Adult general admission tickets are $9.00 in advance, $10.00 on game night. Student tickets (K-12) are $5.00 in advance, $6.00 on game night. Banquet tickets are $20.00, and must be purchased in advance. Additional information and tickets can be purchased through the Shrine Bowl office by calling 1-800-530-5524.