Punt, Pass and Kick gives Palisade youngsters a chance to show their skills
Caleb Hicks wants to play in the NFL.
The 9-year-old from Palisade likes to hit like a linebacker and play quarterback.
This year, he got to test his skills at the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition Thursday at Peach Bowl Park in Palisade.
Hicks passed the ball a little more than 54 feet.
“Everything,” said Hicks when asked his favorite part of football. “I like hitting people. Also, I throw farthest out of all of the (skills in Punt, Pass, and Kick). I’m going to play professional.”
It’s the first time Palisade put on the Punt, Pass and Kick competition, after a string of skills competitions put on by the Palisade Parks and Recreation Department. In December it hosted the Denver Nuggets Skills Challenge, and in May it hosted the Colorado Rockies Skills Challenge.
“Punt, Pass and Kick is sponsored by the NFL and the Play 60 initiative, and the whole idea is to give every kid the chance to compete whether or not they participate in organized football,” Palisade Parks and Recreation director Sarah Brooks said. “We want to promote physical activity and just getting outside, whatever that is for a specific kid.”
The focus on physical activity started because of sponsorships from professional clubs in Denver and organizations such as the NFL. Volunteers from Palisade Parks and Recreation and Palisade YoungLife staffed the event.
“We get the option of hosting a free event like this, and our goal is to publicize this so kids show up, age 6 to 15,” Brooks said. “We get volunteers to staff the event. The kid goes through each skill back-to-back, and we add up the scores at the end.”
Brooks said the top three kids in each division get ribbons, and the first-place boy and girl from each age division advance to sectionals.
Thirteen kids, four girls and nine boys, competed in Palisade.
“This is the first PPK event that Palisade has done,” Brooks said, explaining the lower turnout. “For the last two events we got maybe 30 to 40 kids, but it’s different because we didn’t do this one on a Saturday.”
Grand Junction hosts it’s local Punt, Pass and Kick event Saturday, and then hosts the sectional competition Oct. 12, according to Brooks.