MIAMI — The Oklahoma Eight Man Football Coaches Association All-Star Game got a shot in the arm from one of its original sponsors.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau, which played a financial role in the game which will be played here Saturday, June 17, is back after several years.
It joins Touchstone Energy and Dr. Sean O’Brien and the Oklahoma Center for Orthopedics as presenting sponsors.
“We are thrilled to welcome Oklahoma Farm Bureau back to the 8-Man Football Corporate Sponsorship level,” said Amanda Davis, CVB executive director and City of Miami director of tourism. “They have been a great partner over the years. This will be the 15th year that the event is held in Miami and they have been a part of it for many years and we are grateful.
“Having that additional funding helps with continuing cost increases we have experienced over the past years.”
The sponsors are a big reason that seven scholarships will be presented during the OEMFCA awards banquet at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 16 at the Calcagno Family Ballroom in NEO’s Carter Student Union.
Farm Bureau will present one $2,000 scholarship at the banquet, which recognizes players, coaches and all-star cheerleaders who will be participating in the game as well as the top performers in the two eight-man football classifications.
Bill Pingleton, who won several state titles at Elmore City, will be inducted into the OEMFCA Hall of Fame. He will be recognized at the awards banquet and again at the half of the football game.
Additional scholarships will be presented by O’Brien, Touchstone, Northeastern A&M, Alert Services and the OEMFCA.
Other sponsors include the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, City of Miami, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Coleman House Restaurant, Coleman Theatre, NEO A&M College, PlayLand Lanes, Miami Friends Church, Waylan’s Ku-Ku and the Miami News-Record.
The game was played in Alva from 1973 to 2002, at Northeastern A&M from 2003-06, at Commerce from 2007-09, at NEO in 2010-12, at Commerce in 2013 and again at Robertson Field since 2014.
The game is a joint effort of the CVB, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and the OEMFCA.
“The 8-man week is a great sports tourism event for the City of Miami,” Davis said. “The game brings in thousands of visitors to our community which is in line with our mission at the CVB of increasing new dollars spent in town and putting heads in beds at our partner hotels. We are funded by the 5 percent hotel tax so the more visitors to these events the better for our budget and new sales tax dollars coming into the city and county.”
While some coaches will check in on Sunday, June 11, players will report on Tuesday, June 13.
An assortment of activities are planned for the players, including a cookout hosted by the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Kiwanis of Miami, a player combine conducted by members of the NEO football staff, an evening of entertainment at the Coleman Theatre, a performance by a hypnotist and bowling with members of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa County.
“This year, there are a few large events that fall on the same weekend, so we are working with our tourism partners in Grove and Vinita to use rooms in those cities for overflow for guests,” Davis said. “We have some 8-man families staying in Joplin too since demand for rooms is so high the third weekend in June.”
Reservations are required for the banquet and can be made by contacting the Miami CVB at 918-542-4435.
Kickoff for the game has been bumped up to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 17 at Red Robertson Field. Gates will open at 4 p.m.
Cost for the game is $5 for all ages. Tickets will be available in advance at the CVB office or can be purchased at the gate on the day of the game.
Members of the OEMFCA Hall of Fame will be recognized at the half of the game.