The 28th annual Spud Bowl took place on Sept. 6 at Goerke stadium with a Pointers victory against Albion College. The Spud Bowl raises awareness of potato agriculture in Central Wisconsin.
“It’s about creating awareness and celebrating how important agriculture is to the lifestyle in central Wisconsin and we are honored to be a part of it,” said head coach Tom Journell.
One of the highlights of this year’s event featured the second annual Spud Run. The event also featured a spudmobile, detailing a brief history and giving away free potatoes.
“Raising awareness about local agriculture with an event like this is important because agriculture plays a large role in our local economy and accounts for more than 150,000 agriculture-related jobs in our region,” said former Spud Bowl committee chair and Pointer football alumni Tony Romano.
Activities started at 4 p.m. with the Spud Run. Participants received a T-shirt, a choice between French fries or a baked potato and a ticket to the game. The top three racers in each age group received awards.
“The Spud Bowl is something that brings the whole community together. All of Stevens Point can take pride in it and I can take pride in playing in it,” said senior captain defensive back Zach Vallasfskey.
Spud Run participants were not the only people who received potatoes. Prior to kickoff and during the first portion of the game, free spuds were given out to anyone who wanted them.
“We’re going from 500 to 1000 servings of potatoes this this year,” said Spud Bowl Liaison Ann Ninnemann. “We ran out before the game started last year.”
The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point football team headed into the game with a spud bowl record of 23-4 facing the Albion Britons for the third time in Pointers history. Both of the previous games resulted in victories for UWSP.
Fortunately, as the last of the potatoes were given away and after a slow start the Pointers were turned the game around. The game resulted in a 42-31 Pointer win.
“I love the atmosphere every year,” Vallasfskey said. “We always get a big crowd.”
With this win under their belts, the Pointers hope to head into a successful season.
“The whole league will be tough,” Coach Journell said. “Looking at the schedule will wear you out but I always tell my guys three things: play hard, play smart, and play together. Even though we don’t say it out loud everyone knows we’re looking for the conference title.”
In addition to bringing the community together for agricultural awareness, the proceeds are used to award scholarships to students that, among other criteria, have a farming or agricultural background.
“It’s really nice, giving back to farmers in central Wisconsin and their families that go here,” Journell said.
Each year, multiple scholarships ranging from $500 to $750 are distributed.
“This year we gave out five $750 scholarships. The students need an agricultural background, but they don’t need to major in it,” Ninnemann said.
Nearing three decades, the Spud Bowl is still a big hit. More than 50 different companies have sponsored the event that helps support our local farmers.
“There aren’t many activities more exciting than college football under the lights, especially the home-opener,” Romano said. “Get out, get involved, and enjoy the game with your fellow Pointers.”