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"Bowling" For Dollars

The Annual Rushmore Bowl Fundraiser in Rapid City, South Dakota is more than a football game. It's a celebrated social event that provides $25,000 annually for Central High School and Stevens High School in Rapid City. All proceeds go directly to both schools' booster clubs.

By Robyn Beaird
Member, Central High School Booster Club
Rushmore Bowl Chairperson
Central High School
Rapid City, South Dakota

The annual Rushmore Bowl (www.rushmorebowl.com) is part sporting event, part social event, and part fundraising event all wrapped into one. Our booster club and the Stevens High School Booster Club work together on this fundraiser. Many years ago, a few parents and administrators got together and came up with the idea to turn the game into a fundraiser for the schools.

Each school receives about $25,000 in proceeds from the event annually, which helps fund the schools' activities and organizations. This year the Bowl was held on Sept. 3 and was a double-header football matchup (Central vs Spearfish High at 2 p.m. followed by Stevens vs Sturgis High at 5 p.m.).

We have around 18 different committee members who each handle a different area including concessions, admissions, publicity, and grounds. While the event is held in September, some of the committee members begin their work in March and others may start in May or June.
   
We generate revenue from the gate, program advertising, and concessions sales. We charge $5 for advance tickets and $7 at the gate. Midcontinent Communications, a local business that sponsors the Rushmore Bowl, donates a car to raffle off each year. We sell the car raffle tickets up until the third week of October and draw for the winner during the annual Central/Stevens football game. Other business donations include: soda, food, four wheelers, and event tents.

Everyone is involved, students and parents. Students work on game day and also sell game and raffle tickets the week before. Booster Club parents help on game day by working the gates, concessions stand, and setting up and tearing down. About 50 parents from each school volunteer their time at the Rushmore Bowl.

To publicize the game, a publicity volunteer sets up airtime for the two Bowl chairpersons and the Athletic Director to do radio and TV spots the week of the event. We also run ads in the local paper. Midcontinent runs ads on their TV station as well. There is no out of pocket expense to the booster clubs for these promotions.

The Rushmore Bowl has grown into a great event and people look forward to it each year. We hope to carry on the Rushmore Bowl event for many years. Similar communities can have success with this type of fundraiser--take the first step and get started. It is a lot of work, but worth it in the end.


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