Team fills financial needs with fundraising
High school football players from around the Western Slope convened at the Colorado Mesa University practice field Saturday. The boys stood in line to register for the first event of the day—the combine, eager to find out how they ranked among players from the western region of the state.
At 10 a.m., the combine started. The football players rotated through several stations that tested agility, speed and strength. The Grand Junction Tigers football team hosted the event, and a small-scale tournament, as a fundraiser.
This is Robbie Owens 6th season as Tigers football coach. He said the football team’s budget this year is not enough to cover its expenses so he’s been looking for innovative ways to fundraise.
“We’re raising more money each year, which is a struggle for us, but everything costs more,” Owens said.
Last year, Owens said, the team raised over $30,000. The team, he said, struggles financially to compete with schools in Denver. The Western Slope high schools face travel disadvantages and seem to lack the same funding Denver-area teams receive.
Saturday’s tournament covered some of this year’s fundraising which was started by KC Lewis and his son Austin. Local businesses gave $6,000 to the event which was free to all the participants.
“We’re trying to help local kids get their times done and send them off to colleges so that colleges can compare kids from Junction to other places in the nation. Even after I go to college, my dad will continue this to help local students out,” Austin said.
Austin said one big contributor to the fundraiser on Saturday was Family Health West Hospital.
The Tigers also received a $3,000 donation from Wells Fargo to cover extra team expenses. Owens said the money would most likely cover maintenance and travel costs over the course of the season.