Fireworks will grace the Moffat County football halftime once again in 2013, with the Moffat County Booster Club to thank for it.
For years, Dr. John Ilko made and lit his own fireworks at every homecoming football game in Craig — setting off a gas bomb for every touchdown scored and putting on a lengthy halftime show for the crowd. But since Ilko’s passing, fireworks have been absent at the homecoming game.
Until this year, when the Moffat County Booster Club asked athletes what they most wanted to see at their homecoming game, and memories of that special tradition rang through the strongest.
“We asked for a couple football players to come to our last board meeting, and we asked them what they wanted back in homecoming,” said Booster Club Treasurer Lisa Lawton. “Brayden Peterson and Sheldon Greenwood said they wanted the fireworks.”
So the club followed the advice of the seniors and captains of the team, putting $750 toward a halftime fireworks show that will be run by Craig Fire/Rescue.
The fireworks are another example of Booster Club activities geared toward improving the student and athlete experience. The club was started about a year and a half ago by a group of parents who saw the opportunity to improve athletes’ experience.
“We saw a lack of community at some of the games,” Lawton said. “All of (the board members) have kids in the program right now, and it would just be parents at the games. I grew up in Craig and we used to pack the gym at every game. We want to be able to bring that back.”
But the Booster Club has been about more than just the sports teams since its inception in Moffat County. The group bought tickets for three student council members to travel to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration and paid for a DJ at last year’s prom.
It’s all part of the club’s goal to raise spirit and expectations in middle school and high school programs across the board.
“We also want to raise the expectations for these sports,” said board member Mark Samuelson. “Through all the things we can pay for, we want athletes and community members to take notice and then get involved also. We want to foster that community spirit and make these programs great.
“We have bigger goals, too. We want to build a new stadium up there” at the high school.
While that is years away, the Booster Club has done its part to make the 2013 homecoming week a special one. It held a fall sports team dinner at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on Wednesday, donated money for the pep assembly at MCHS on Friday morning and for hot dogs at elementary school literacy tailgate parties Friday, as well.
Plus, the fireworks will make a return to the homecoming game halftime.
“This is all about giving back to our kids,” Samuelson said. “There are lots of groups in Craig doing a super job with their initiatives, but this is specificially about the kids — middle school and high school kids.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com.