Shrine Bowl game, activities coming to Hays

by Diane Gasper-O' Brien
Hundreds of Kansas high school students and graduated seniors from the class of 2015 will converge on the Fort Hays State University campus next week for the annual Kansas East-West All-Star Shrine Bowl football game.

The game is a fundraiser for the the Shriners Hospitals for Children and will kick off at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at FHSU's Lewis Field Stadium. Players are chosen by vote of media following the previous fall's high school season.

Players train for a week at separate camps -- the West team at Salina and the East team at Emporia -- before coming to Hays for Friday's banquet and Saturday's game.

Band practice begins Tuesday, and high school musicians will be showcased at Shrine Bowl events, including pregame and halftime performances. The band also will perform at the Shrine Bowl banquet Friday night, and it will lead Saturday's Shrine Bowl parade down Main Street in Hays.

A select group of cheerleaders will also perform at the game following a cheer clinic held on campus beginning Thursday.

Other high school football players have the opportunity to participate in a combine and clinic co-sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Simoneau Sports Performance out of Overland Park. SSP is owned by Mark Simoneau, a former Smith Center High School football standout who played in the 1995 Shrine Bowl game. Simoneau went on to play at Kansas State University and for several NFL teams.

Other events surrounding the Shrine Bowl festivities include a Walk for Love, a golf tournament and a junior all-star challenge for boys and girls ages 6-14.

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