The waiting is just about over. After several months of anticipation on the part of 68 of Kansas’ best high school players, twelve coaches, plus team managers, athletic trainers, and camp directors, the 2012 Kansas Shrine Bowl begins to take shape on Friday when players report to their respective camps and practices get underway for the 39th Kansas Shrine Bowl, set to kickoff at 7 pm July 28th at Emporia State’s Welch Stadium.
For many years, the two teams have held week-long training camps at the same two locations. The West has prepared at St. John’s Military School in Salina, while the East has practiced at Emporia State University. While the players are set to report on Friday, the camps actually will open on Thursday, when the coaching staffs will arrive for a series of meetings to get organized for the practice sessions, go over game plans, and talk about strategies before players report the next day. Head coaches this year will be Garden City’s Brian Hill, and Rossville’s Steve Buhler.
It will be Terrell’s 14th year to lead the East camp, to go along with 12 years of service on the Kansas Shrine Bowl Board of Directors, and the veteran director says he’s seen changes over the years. “Basically it’s the same, except a lot of events have been added to the Shrine Bowl game, such as the Cross Country Meet and the Masonic Band, which has been a huge task for the Masonic Lodges across Kansas. But the football game is still played in July when it’s hot, and the players are still great kids. We have a great group of coaches that come together and give 10 days out of their summer to help, and there are always hundreds of volunteers helping to put this event on and make it a success.”
Terrell, who lives in Emporia, says he moves to the Emporia State campus during camp and stays with the players and coaches. “I’m there 24-7 for the 10 days in case anything is not ready, just to make sure we meet our time schedules. I love working with the coaches and players, and I look forward to it every year, although it seems like it comes around quicker every year.”
Terrell says he thinks both camps are run about the same. “We give the players a lot of freedom. They do have to get up early so they can work out while it’s still cool. Here at Emporia State, we have the advantage of an indoor pool, where the players can relax after a hot practice.”
At both camps, Shrine units are active in providing food and volunteer services for the players and coaches. “The Shrine Temple in Pittsburg will have a big hamburger feed for the players on Friday”, he says. “And the local Neosho Valley Shriner Club will put on as steak fry on the 24th (Tuesday). A number of Shriner units help with other meals and day-to-day activities, whatever is needed.”
All Shrine Bowl events are produced and presented to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children [SHC]. SHC is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to the age of 18 are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay. The 39th annual Kansas Shrine Bowl will be played Saturday, July 28th, 2012, in Emporia, Kansas, at Welch Stadium on the Emporia State University campus. Kickoff will be at 7:00 pm. Tickets and additional information are available at www.kansasshrinebowl.com or by calling 800-530-5524.