SALINA, EMPORIA AWAIT ARRIVE OF SHRINE
BOWL COACHES, PLAYERS
It has been a winter and spring of playing the 2007 Kansas Shrine Bowl on paper and through e-mail.
Now it's time to bring it to the field.
The two Kansas Shrine Bowl teams will report to their respective camps this week in preparation for the July 28th Shrine Bowl at Ft. Hays State University. Both teams will report Friday morning, and after lunch, both squads will begin practice for the 34th All-Star game classic. The East team will prepare at Emporia State University, while the West will practice at St. John's Military Academy in Salina.
The camps will be led by two veterans who understand the logistics of feeding, housing, and caring for 34 players, plus coaches, managers, and trainers for slightly over a week. Ray Terrell of Emporia will manage the East camp for the 9th time, while Myron Converse of Clay Center, himself a former Shrine Bowl player, will oversee the West camp for the 7th year in a row.
Both coaches appreciate the work of Terrell and Converse in managing the camps. When he gets his team assembled for the first time, East head coach Blake Pierce (Topeka Seaman) says the first thing he'll tell his players is "who's the boss." "That's Ray Terrell," he says. "He's a great guy, and the kids need to know that he's the one they need to follow."
Pierce's counterpart, West head coach Jason Kenny (Ulysses) also has glowing praise for the way the West camp was conducted last year when he was an assistant. He says he "was highly impressed with
the Shriner Volunteers, with Myron, and with the trainers. It's a first-class organization, and that what make's it such a privilege to coach in the game. It's a great group of people."
As for football, both coaches say they've been in communication with their assistant coaches during the summer. Both say coaching assignments were made early, so that each coach will know when he arrives in camp what specific group of position players he'll be coaching. And both indicate that it will important to decide who will play on offense, and who will play on defense, as the practices unfold.
Kenny says the number one priority is to try to "build a team." He adds that that will be one of the most difficult tasks, to get them to play for the Shriner's cause and for each other. Pierce says one of his priorities will be to find "who can play best at what positions."
Both teams will have just enough time to get acquainted and run through some drills on Friday before preparing for perhaps their longest day before the game. Both squads will leave by bus in the wee hours Saturday, where they will meet at Kansas City International Airport to board a flight to St. Louis. The teams will visit the St. Louis Rams training center before having lunch, then bus to the St. Louis Shriner's Hospital to visit with the reasons the game is played---the children who are patients at the St. Louis Hospital. After their visit, it's a bus ride and a flight to get back to Kansas City in time for a hamburger feed prepared by members of the Abdallah Shrine Temple in Overland Park, before heading back to their respective camps. Practices will resume on Sunday in preparation for Saturday's game.
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.