E-Hawks A Part Of 2010 Iowa Shrine All Star Game
Emmetsburg’s E-Hawks will be well represented this July 24 when the 38 th Annual Iowa Shrine All-Star Football Game kicks off in Ames. Not only will the E-Hawks have a player on the turf of Jack Trice Stadium at Iowa State University, but they will also be represented by an Assistant Coach on the North Squad sidelines, as well as a ball boy.
Tommy Kuecker, the son of Jim and Judy Kuecker of Cylinder will play for the North squad in the annual fundraising classing for the Shriners’ Hospital charities. Emmetsburg Head Coach Mike Dunlap has been tabbed as an assistant coach for this season’s classic, and Max Dunlap, the son of Mike and Julie Dunlap, will accompany his father to serve as a ball boy for the North squad for this year’s game.
Members of the North Squad gathered in Spencer last Wednesday evening to meet each other, along with their parents, and members of the coaching staff in a banquet hosted by the Abu-Bekr temple of the Shrine. The event was held at the Masonic Temple in Spencer, with members of the Shrine on hand to facilitate the introductions and to brief the players and parents on what to expect for the upcoming event.
Along with Kuecker, athletes from northwest Iowa attending the banquet included Tyler Tonderum of Armstrong-Ringsted, along with Kyle Schuck of Cherokee, Taylor Zeutenhorst of Sheldon, Jesse Selgeby of West Lyon, Randy Wooster of Eagle Grove and Josh Steinberg of St. Ansgar. Also attending was Luke Lansman of Harlan, a member of the South squad.
The Shriners operate 18 orthopedic hospitals across the United States, along with three burn centers and one general hospital. The facilities do not bill for their services, relying on the ongoing endowments of the Shriners and proceeds from events such as the Shrine All-Star Game. There is no cost to any child receiving treatment at a Shrine Hospital – Shriners pay for the transportation of the youth to the facility, and cover the room and board of a child’s family while they are undergoing treatment.
The operating budget for 2009 for the Shrine Hospitals was some $826 million, or $2.26 million per day to operate the Shrine Hospitals.
During Wednesday’s banquet, North squad head Coach Roger Jansen of Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City left no doubt as to the importance of playing in the Shrine All Star Game.
“This game is bigger than any game I’ve ever been associated with,” Jansen said. “Why? The cause – it’s those kids – those kids who battle everyday to walk, or to smile. That truly is the bottom line for this game and for each of you. I challenge everyone to make this the best game that you will ever play.”
Jansen paused. “This is not about winning and losing – it’s about the experience, the kids, and about making a difference in each of these kids’ lives.”
Bob McCoy of Bedford, the South Team Coach, also spoke briefly on Wednesday night with a similar message. “You’ll make friends for the rest of your lives and this will be a great experience for you, but most importantly, all this, everything that you do on the field or in the various activities, it’s all for the kids in the hospitals.”
The Shrine All Star Game is sponsored jointly by the four Iowa Shrine Temples: Abu Bekr of Sioux City; El Kahir of Cedar Rapids; Kaaba of Davenport; and Za-Ga-Zig of Des Moines. In July of each year, a committee of Shrine members from the four temples who oversee the All Star game meet with the Iowa High School Football Coaches Association to select head coaches for the upcoming year. Once the head coaches are named, they select their assistant coaches, one from each class of football.
To select the teams, the Shrine Game Coaches rely on nominations by coaches across the state. A total of up to 46 graduating high school seniors on each team. The division line for the North and South basically is Highway 30 as it crosses the State, East to West, with the western extension from Denison to Onawa. All schools bordering Highway 30 have players on the South Squad, except for the Cedar Rapids schools where the players are on the North Squad. The exception is Cedar Rapids Prairie, which represents the South Squad.
Coaches of Iowa High Schools recommend a defensive and offensive player for the respective teams. The nominees must not be just good athletes, but also academically successful and active in both their school as well as community. With nominations before them, the coaching staffs then select their 46 member teams for the Shrine All Star Game.
An All-Star Cheerleader program was added to the event in 1998, with selection accomplished through nominations and tryouts. A total of 60 cheerleaders are selected for the All Star game.
The players will report to Iowa State University in Ames on July 17 for their week of drills and practice prior to the July 24 game. A highlight of the week will be on Tuesday, July 20, when patients of the Shrine Hospital in St. Paul will be brought to Ames to spend time with the players, watching them practice and interacting with the players. After a break, the players will travel to Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames, where staff members from the Twin Cities Shrine Hospital will explain the work they do with patients at the facility. The purpose of the day’s activities is to give the players a better understanding of the cause they are working for – the children who are treated by the Shrine Hospitals across North America.