The annual celebration of football in the Border City will see all four of the Lloydminster Minor Football Association’s (LMFA) teams on the gridiron Saturday, as the peewee teams will take on league rivals, while the bantam teams prepare for the annual Bantam Bowl.
It’s the eighth year LMFA has held the annual event, which has turned out to be their biggest fundraising day of the season, as raffles and silent auctions bring in extra funds that help keep football affordable for families in Lloydminster.
And it celebrates how far the game has come since LMFA first got their roots dug over a decade. And this year the day will be renamed Rod Kirby Football Day to honour the former LMFA president who spent plenty of hours building the association into what it is today.
“It’s the biggest fundraiser for minor football and it gets people aware of what football programs we have in Lloydminster,” said current LMFA president Edwin Hippe. “It’s football all day long. It’s growing and we like to make sure it’s getting bigger.”
The action gets started at noon with the Lloydminster Colts taking on the Wainwright Commandos in a peewee rivalry that has been a part of almost every Football Day schedule.
Peewee competition will continue with the Lloydminster Steelers taking on the Bonnyville Voyageurs at 3 p.m.
The headliner for the day is the Bantam Bowl between Lloydminster’s two bantam teams, the Chargers and Mustangs.
The teams have met seven prior times in the annual game between the two Lloydminster squads, with the Mustangs winning the first six Cal Harper Cups, before the Chargers finally ended the streak last season with a 14-12 victory.
But the Mustangs want the Bantam Bowl title back on their side of the field and heading into Saturday’s match up, they are the only undefeated team remaining in the Wheatland Bantam Football League, having gone 4-0 this season.
“The boys are hungry,” said Mustangs head coach Paul Amundrud. “We lost to the Chargers three times last year and a lot of my core guys are back for this year’s team so they are going to be out for some Charger blood.”
While the rivalry between the Mustangs and Chargers has grown with each edition of the Bantam Bowl and Football Day meeting, it’s one built on pride, respect and friendship. Like their high school counterparts, the competition is fierce whenever two Lloydminster teams are on the same field, but afterwards, the camaraderie and sportsmanship comes through, as football players in Lloydminster grow together, even if the colour of their helmet is different.
“It’s a little bit more of an important day,” said Chargers head coach Michael Wirachowsky. “It’s a big game for us with bragging rights. We grew up together and it’s a little extra on the line for us.”
“They come out and they play and then they are friends after,” said Hippe. “They all go to school together. But when it comes to the game time, that two and a half hours, it is what it is, it’s there team verses your team. Friends out the door and off we go again.”
Kickoff for the Bantam Bowl is at 6 p.m with Rod Kirby Football Day being held at Holy Rosary field.