The fourth annual Rocky Mountain Kickoff is all about new faces and fresh ideas, including a fan prize giveaway of up to $500,000.
As in years past, four teams will square off in a doubleheader played in Utah State’s Maverik Stadium. This time around, two completely new teams will join the fray: Shelley and Preston, both of Idaho. The Preston Indians will play against Logan, who will participate in the event for the second year in a row. The Shelly Russets will take on Sky View, last year’s Region 12 champion.
The aim for chief organizer and founder of the Kickoff, Dee Jones, is to bring to life a quality event that is able to draw in as large a crowd as possible. In fact, last year Jones sought to break the Utah attendance record for a high school football game. The event fell well short of the near-20,000 mark, but the dual games of Logan-Ogden and Mountain Crest-Box Elder still drew in a crowd of around 7,000 — a very respectable number for a Friday night football game.
To that same end of drawing fans, Jones has made a couple of tweaks to his event. First, the game will take place on Aug. 29, a Thursday instead of a Friday. That weekend will be Labor Day weekend, but Jones hopes to draw the crowds before they take off for vacations and getaways.
Another incentive Jones is throwing in is a $500,000 prize giveaway which will be available for one — or two — attendees who will be chosen randomly based on the number of that person’s ticket. The catch? That person will have to make a 50-yard field goal at an intermission during the game.
As of now, there is still a decision to be made as to whether one or two people will be allowed to attempt the most lucrative field goal in Utah high school sports history. If Jones decides it will be two people, each individual will have a chance at $250,000 instead of one person getting a crack at an even half a million.
It’s a large payout, “life-changing” as Jones called it. And he’s hopeful that someone will take advantage.
“I think it would be great if somebody won it,” Jones said. “I’m hoping that somebody wins it.”
The on-field matchups between the Utah and Idaho schools might struggle to bring the same suspense or life-changing potential as a half-million dollar or 250k field goal attempt, but Jones was pleased with the matchups he set up. Logan and Preston is a matchup in particular that interested Jones as the two have not played since the mid-20th century.
For a number of mostly logistical reasons, Jones has had to bring in at least two teams outside of Region 12 for the doubleheader clash. And he’s seen a growth in interest and awareness of the event.
“It has gained popularity as far as high schools and coaches and players are concerned,” Jones said. “Because it’s like everybody in the state knows what the Rocky Mountain Kickoff is now because of the teams that we’ve brought up from Salt Lake and from Ogden.
Even with that popularity, however, Jones is firm in making sure Cache Valley is well represented in the Kickoff.
“There will always be at least two valley teams in this because it helps with ticket sales and it’s just more of a community event than anything else,” Jones said.
Both of the Cache Valley teams will be in a position of flux at the time they walk onto Merlin Olsen Field. The Grizzlies and Bobcats will both be breaking in new coaches — Sky View with Chris Howell and Logan with Bart Bowen.