Winter sports media night draws a crowd

Karly Jones who plays on both the JV and varsity basketball teams this year is seen signing jerseys for the fans. All money raised by each sport goes back into their individual funds.

WHEATLAND – The Bulldog commons area was abuzz with activity Dec. 16 at Wheatland High School.

The Wheatland booster club came up with a last-minute idea this past fall for a fundraiser that would help each team raise money for their individual sport. The idea exploded into an unforeseen success.

Whereas the fall media night came on short notice, the winter media night had it’s own challenges as many other activities were going on at the same time, including a Bulldog “C” team basketball game that was running simultaneously in the gym.

Last fall the idea was hatched by varsity football coach Cody Bohlander and the WHS Booster Club.

“I had bins and bins of old football jerseys,” said Bohlander. “It was just a great way to make money and not have to throw the jerseys away. Kids can pick the jersey they want and then our players will autograph them.”

According to booster president Peggy Suko, it was a quick idea and it yielded more interest than she could have imagined.

“Tiffany Dean said her little boys really liked coming to the football games and they think the varsity boys are pretty cool,” Suko said. “We then wondered how we could get these kids meeting each other, and so this is how it all came about. I thought about doing something like this because we needed to get rid of some old jerseys, they can have the players sign the jerseys and we put up a sign and initiated a place where the kids could have their pictures taken with the players.”

Most sports teams had old jerseys or T-shirts that they were selling that they could make money. The spirit team were once again doing face painting. People could donate whatever they wanted.

“WHS Booster Club Media Night was the best idea My girls absolutely loved it,” Katy Finnerty-Marquez said. “They would not stop talking about it all the way home. From the cheerleaders painting their faces, to shirts from the volleyball team and then an autograph from their favorite player.”

“They are all making money to go back into their activity accounts,” Suko said. “And the booster club has extra stuff for sale; things like old 100-year anniversary T-shirts if a kid wants just a $5 shirt. We also have stuff to just give to kids if they didn’t have anything or didn’t bring anything to autograph.”

It bridges a gap between the younger kids and the older kids and acts as a two-edged sword, giving the young kids interactions with their heroes and the older kids a chance to meet and perhaps mentor young fans.

As for the massive crowds that were piling into the commons area, it looked to be a very successful night.

“Well, we had a couple of things we had to compete with,” Suko said. “The spring media night is going to be a challenge, because it’s going to be baseball, softball and track. Getting those to be together is difficult. Tonight is also near Christmas so that’s also a distraction.”

There were many Christmas gifts unique to that hard to shop for sports fanatic and the student-athlete sales team were making money!

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