Arab Shriners hold players appreciation banquet
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Shrine Bowl is annual football game where the most accomplished high school football players across the state are selected to play for something bigger than themselves.
“Six different sportscasters get together in a room and they’ll pick the first 26 kids. 11 offense, 11 defense for each side East and West and then 4 all-around players, and then you have seven coaches so they pick the last. Each one gets to pick two players so 14 total, so that gets us a 40-man roster,” said Donnie Bohannon, president of the Kansas Shrine Bowl Board of Directors.
The game has been played in different cities throughout Kansas every summer since 1974 and all of the money that is raised from from the game benefit children in Shriners Hospitals.
“It’s very rewarding for the shrine kids that we help not only physically, mentally, both. They have a special place in my heart and me and my family... my kids have grown up around it and it means a lot to me to be able to help others,” Bohannon said.
A couple of those children were in attendance at Saturday’s banquet, including Beckett Holthaus from Seneca who was born with a rare limb deficiency which required him to get an amputation surgery when he was one-year-old.
Beckett’s mother says their experience with Shriners Hospital has been life-changing.
“You can’t say enough good things about Shriners Hospital. We go to the St. Louis location, it’s a very family-friendly oriented hospital. It’s really great because they’re a great company to work for because every time we go down there, we see the same staff. So the same staff really it’s amazing, they know him not as a patient number, they know him by his first name,” said Jenn Holthaus
After Beckett’s surgery, he started walking. Shortly after that, he was running. Now, Beckett is able to do all things he loves the most.
“Playing football with the Shriners... I like basketball and t-ball and soccer,” said Beckett.
The 50th annual Shrine Bowl will take place July 15 in Hays.
The Shriners also announced that Kansas native and Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders will be in attendance for this year’s game.
Copyright 2023 WIBW. All rights reserved.