TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Shrine Bowl football game in Topeka has been raising money for Shriner’s Hospitals for Children for almost 50 years now.
“It’s important first and foremost because it’s a fundraiser for a children’s hospital. So that’s our goal, is to raise money for those kids and help impact those lives,” the bowl’s Executive Director, B.J. Harris said.
The showdown for a good cause brings in 36 players from the east side of Kansas and 36 players from the west side.
“They’re some of the best players in the state of Kansas. They’re graduated seniors that are going on to college and going on into their life,” Harris said. “This is kind of their last chance to play high school football.”
Which is one of the reasons Shawnee County officials want to make this game happen.
This year’s Shrine Bowl will be a lot smaller than usual, with less than 1,700 tickets sold compared to the 6,000 seats Hummer Park can hold.
There won’t be band members or cheerleaders on the sidelines either to cut down on the number of people there.
People who can go have to follow the county’s guidelines for mass gatherings with no more than 45 people in a grouping in the stands.
If a family comes in together, they can sit together without a mask.
But if they can’t social distance from other groups they didn’t come in with, they’ll have to wear a mask.
Shawnee County Emergency Management’s Dusty Nichols said they also have guidelines for the players leading up to the game.
“Before coming in, they’ve been checking themselves twice a day their temperatures and physicality twice a day for 7 weeks before they even get here. They’ll be sequestered during the whole week, having food delivered to them all those things. So if they come in healthy they should leave healthy,” Nichols said.
One player calls the new rules interesting, but is more focused on getting to just play football against some good competition.
“I haven’t really been stressing about it because you know I have confidence that they know what they’re doing and they’re going to get everything you know figured out,” Adam said.
Officials say players don’t have to wear a mask while they’re playing, but if they’re on the sidelines not playing, wearing a mask is highly encouraged but not required.
The game is set for Saturday, July 18 at Hummer Sports Complex.