Dodger red, Gael green and Triton blue will blend together into one unified local color here Thursday, as the inaugural "Kick-Off Fort Dodge Football Season" takes place at Dodger Stadium.
The event, hosted by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, will bring the Fort Dodge, St. Edmond and Iowa Central football programs together on the same field from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. Coaches will introduce their players, and a meal will be served by the Iowa Central Community College food service program for a minimal cost.
Cheerleaders from all three schools are also scheduled to perform, and team clothing and accessories will be available for purchase.
"We really wanted to do something to further develop our relationship with all three of our local schools," Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance chief executive officer Dennis Plautz said. "It is very important to support what they are doing and show our appreciation for each of (the football programs and their fans). The coaching staffs, the young men and women and all of the parents deserve to be recognized, and we thought it would be a good idea to bring them together before the season officially started.
"This isn't about the Dodgers or the Gaels or the Tritons individually - it's about the city of Fort Dodge collaborating and supporting each other."
Fort Dodge Senior High athletic and activities director Matt Elsbecker and St. Edmond AAD Joe Shanks both confirmed that Dodger and Gael players and coaches will be in attendance in their respective entirety. Iowa Central athletic director Rick Sandquist said that Triton head coach Kevin Twait will bring at least his six captains to the meet-and-greet; with nearly 200 players on their roster, Twait had to be more selective about his representatives.
"This is a great opportunity to bring the community together from all areas and fanbases," Elsbecker said. "In the end, we're all on the same side. We're all from Fort Dodge, and we want what is best for our town."
"It's a fun idea. Sometimes, we all get caught up in our own (respective) seasons. We keep tabs on how each other is doing in the paper, but this is a chance for face-to-face interaction," Shanks said. "The kids can talk. The coaches can talk. Having everyone together and on the same page before the season starts could be the start of a cool tradition here."
Sandquist called it a "great community building project."
"We all know about each other of course, but there can be a disconnect because we're all busy taking care of our own business," Sandquist said. "I think this is something we'd like to see more of and something we need here. Any community would benefit from more chances to get together like this. Fort Dodge is no different."
Plautz hopes this will become an annual occurrence on the eve of each football season.
"That's the idea," Plautz said. "We're hoping for a terrific turnout and response. Quality of life improvements are such an important aspect to any community's future. We feel events like these are steps in the right direction."