The 39th annual game returns to Lyon County’s Emporia, home to Emporia State University, and the site of three previous Kansas Shrine Bowl games, in 1998, 2004 and 2008. Emporia and ESU have also been hosts to the East team’s annual training camp since the mid- 80s, where East players gather for more than a week to prepare. This year’s game will be played on July 28th at ESU’s Welch Stadium, with kickoff set for 7 pm.
The Director of the Emporia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Betty James, says the Shrine Bowl is an event that Emporia looks forward to hosting. “People tell us how friendly our community is”, she says. “We have so much to offer, and this gives us the chance to roll out the red carpet for many people visiting the city for the first time.” She adds that the game has had a significant economic impact on the community. “After the 2008 Shrine Bowl, we estimate that the game brought in about $1.3 million into the community”, she says.
The East has won two of the three games played in Emporia, 22-11 in 1998 and 29-12 in 2004. The West won a squeaker, 29-28, on a late fourth-quarter touchdown in 2008..
In addition hosting the East team’s training camp and the game, Emporia State will host “Hospital Visitation Day” on Thursday, July 26. Scheduling challenges have made the annual visit by the teams to the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis difficult, so for the second straight year hospital staff will come to Kansas. They’ll set up various stations in the ESU Memorial Union that represent what the hospital does, in order to give players, coaches, and other involved in the 2012 game a better understanding of the services provided by the hospital.
ESU will also host the Shrine Bowl’s annual banquet on July 27th, and the Emporia community is getting ready for the annual Shrine Bowl parade through downtown, which will begin at 10 am on game day, and will feature the teams, cheerleaders, Shrine officials from around the state, and of course the popular Shrine parade units that include clowns, tiny cars, motorcycles, and other specialty units from Kansas Shrine organizations.
In addition to the Shrine Bowl game and related activities, the Flint Hills Community Health Center will host a screening clinic for children up to 18 who might benefit from the services of Shriners Hospitals for Children. The clinic will be from 9:00 to 11:30 on game day, July 28th.
One special event this year will be the free Kansas Shrine Bowl Bike Show. The show will be held at the Emporia Armory from 11 to 4 on game day, and will feature over 50 bike displays. About $1,500 in cash prizes, trophies, and awards will be given out, and winning bikes are scheduled to be on display on the field during the first half of the Shrine Bowl game.
As a prelude to the Shrine Bowl weekend, a Shrine Bowl “Sing-Off” Contest will be held on Thursday, July 14th at 1 pm in the Flinthills Mall in Emporia. The Sing Off will serve as an additional fundraiser for the Shrine Bowl produced and conducted by the Flinthills Mall and its businesses.
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.