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Bobbleheads & Fun Nite

To compensate for the postponement of its annual Golden Eagle Walk for Student-Athletes fundraiser this year, the athletic department at the University of Minnesota-Crookston decided to honor Bill Tyrrell, the director of the walk-a-thon and the school's Director of Athletic Fundraising, with the sale of bobblehead dolls in his image as a new and different fundraiser. They hope to unveil the bobblehead at their annual Fun Nite.

By Bill Tyrrell
Director of Athletic Fundraising, University of Minnesota-Crookston
Crookston, Minnesota

For the past four years I have been the director of the Bill Tyrrell Annual Golden Eagle Walk for Student-Athletes, but with the recent passing of my wife, Mary, we decided to hold off this year. Instead, the school is going to sell bobbleheads in my likeness.

I've been the Director of Athletic Fundraising for five-and-a-half years and been at the school for 25 years, including a stint as the athletic trainer. So I guess it's the school's way of paying tribute to me.

The image is of me in khaki's, sneakers, and a Minnesota-Crookston sweatshirt. We're selling them for $20 each and using word of mouth and contacting alums. Hopefully some of my friends will buy some and we will also try to sell some online. We've ordered around 700 and have already sold quite a few.

We don't know when they will be available, but we are hopeful they will arrive in time for our 16th Annual Teambackers Fun Nite on April 29 at the Crookston Eagles Club in downtown Crookston. The Teambackers Club is an athletic promotion and fundraising organization for UMC. It operates in conjunction with the U of M, Crookston Development Office, the Athletic Department, and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

Fun Nite is an annual event and ticket holders are eligible for more than $1,500 in prizes. Numerous live and silent auction items will be available along with raffles and other games. The evening begins with a social at 6 p.m. followed by dinner. Games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $40 if you buy by April 1 and $50 at the door. Last year we raised about $20,000 at Fun Night. Each year my target is always $1 higher. As long as we're making more money each year, things are good. All of the money goes toward athletic scholarships.

We don't have to pay for the venue. We just pay for the food. The meal is a choice of either prime rib or walleye. And we also have dessert, which is provided by RBJ's Restaurant, a local vendor. They make about 15 different kinds of really good pies. Then we go into some live and silent auctions and some different games of chance. There is an open bar, which is not included in the cost of the ticket.

A lot of area vendors donate the different prizes. For instance, we have a local jewelry store, Muns, which has donated jewelry every year. Anderson Beverage has been very good to us by donating beverages for the event. We had a couple that used to donate a condo in Florida before they sold it. We get different donations from different places.

We have a local man who donates a one-day fishing excursion. I have a connection with an alum that deals with sports memorabilia, such as autographed jerseys and baseball bats. Obviously the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins donate stuff as well.

Tom Helgeson, a local radio personality, is our MC who's been doing this for us for years. He has a unique and outgoing personality. In my opinion, he could host any event anyplace in the country.

I have a lot of help in coordinating and organizing the event, but as Director of Athletic Fundraising, it is kind of my deal. We already started selling pre-sale tickets. We have a master list from over the years.

The whole event doesn't really cost us much to run because the price of the tickets is what we are paying the Eagles Club to pay for the meal. And we also allot $1,000 to buy prizes and stuff, so that's where most of our out of pocket expenses go. is brought to you by a recognized and established name in the school athletics arena, MomentumMedia—publisher of Athletic Management, Coaching Management and Training & Conditioning magazines.