After Washburn University announced the closure of their campus on May 5th, due to health and safety concerns from COVID-19, the fate of the 47th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl was unknown. Today, the Kansas Shrine Bowl is excited to announce they will stay in Topeka and play their game at Hummer Sports Complex. “While health and safety concerns are still a factor, we are excited to have a new venue and are increasingly hopeful we will be playing football on July 18th,” said B.J. Harris, Executive Director of the Kansas Shrine Bowl. “Hummer Sports Complex is an amazing facility and their staff and support will be a tremendous asset.”
The new venue is a positive step, but the Kansas Shrine Bowl recognizes the challenges and changes that could affect the event. “All activities are being coordinated with assistance from the Shawnee County COVID-19 Task Force,” added Harris. “The health of our players, participants and fans is the top priority and we look forward to working with local officials to execute a safe event.”
The announcement of Hummer Sports Complex as the sight of the 2020 game is a great step forward, but the 47th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl will be anything but business as usual. The biggest change will the cancellation of the Kansas Masonic All-State Marching Band. “After discussions with multiple high school and collegiate band directors it became evident that a successful band camp would not be possible with the expected limitations,” said Harris. “We are disappointed for our band kids, but we’re hopeful we can keep them engaged with our event and execute an alternative that could keep the band present at this year’s game.”
Dr. William Woodsworth, Director of Athletic Bands at Emporia State University and A.J. Pence, Band Director at Valley Falls High School, will be working to put together the 37th Annual Kansas Masonic All-State “Virtual” Band. “It is important to allow these fine students to share their talents and their passion, especially given these trying times,” said Dr. Woodsworth. “Ultimately, although it will never be able to replace an in-person performance, our purpose will still hold true. This summer’s performance of the 2020 Kansas Masonic All-State “Virtual” Band will still be ‘For the Kids’!”
Other changes to the 47th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl will be the cancellation of the Participant Appreciation Banquet, Strong Legs Run 5K and hospital screening clinic. The Kansas Shrine Bowl All-Star Cheer Camp has been shortened to a two-day, commuter camp and will take place at a Topeka school district facility. The Kansas Shrine Bowl Parade, high school football combine, and Jr. All-Star Challenge are still being considered but could be altered or cancelled. The four-man golf scramble is still scheduled at the Topeka Country Club and hosted by the Arab Shrine Golfers on Friday, July 17th.
Individuals who have purchased banquet tickets or banquet sponsorships will be contacted for refund arrangements. Kansas Masonic Lodges will be contacted regarding their band sponsorships and how to proceed over the next few weeks.
East and West training camps are still set to be held in Ottawa and Salina; further details will be provided to parents and players in the coming days.
“We remain fully aware that additional changes and disruptions could occur as we continue to plan for our event, and we encourage our fans and supporters to remain engaged and flexible,” said Harris. “Our fundraiser will only move forward with the support and guidance of local authorities; we trust their leadership and hope to execute a quality event on July 18th.”
Stay up-to-date with the Kansas Shrine Bowl by visiting www.KansasShrineBowl.com and by following the Kansas Shrine Bowl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also text KSB2020 to 474747 to be added to their text line.