62nd annual Nebraska Shrine Bowl set for July 11
Every year summer of the state's best senior football players meet in Kearney for the Nebraska Shrine Bowl, and COVID-19 wasn't going to stop the big game from being played for the 62nd straight year.
The game was originally scheduled to take place on June 6. In April, the Shrine Bowl Committee realized that wasn't going to be possible. However unlike other all-star games across the country, they held out hope and postponed it to July 11.
Unless something big changes that is when they'll take the field at Ron and Carol Cope Stadium.
"There's been some games around the country that didn't even postpone, they just cancelled the game altogether," said Nebraska Shrine Bowl Executive Director Dave MacDonald. "The board and myself here thought why not just take it as far as we could and see what came of it."
Although it will look different and there will be many changes, the seniors get one more game and they are able to continue to support Children's Hospital.
"So we just felt like it was in our best interest, along with just for the event's best interest, players, coaches. To try and see if we postpone it can we make it a viable event and still hold it this year," said MacDonald.
The parents of the players are told to monitor their health up until they go to camp on July 6. Once they get to camp, they will have their temperatures taken twice a day. There will also be constant sanitizing and other measures taken to keep the players safe.
As of right now they are allowed to have up to 25 percent capacity in the stands for the big game, but MacDonald is hopeful that by July it will get moved up to 50 percent capacity.
MacDonald said the struggles this year have allowed the Shrine Bowl to communicate with many others around the state more than they ever have. One of them being the Sertoma 8-man All-Star game, which will be playing for the 43rd straight year at Hastings College on July 16. The two have been working closely together to bounce ideas off each other and make sure they can get all of the logistics for the games figured out.
There's also some positive changes taking place this year for the Nebraska Shrine Bowl. For the first time in the game's history, both the North and South rosters will expand from 38 players to 45 players. Giving 14 more seniors the opportunity to strap up the helmets one more time.
The Nebraska Shrine Bowl is set to kickoff July 11 at 2 p.m.