Kids Make RazorFest III More Than A Football Game

FAYETTEVILLE -- Really, you've got to give a tip of the Stetson to Rick Schaeffer, Houston Nutt and Frank Broyles.

Unmistakably, all of them deserve it for teaming up for a project simply labeled RazorFest III.

But it's much, much more than that.

Schaeffer, the director of development for Champions For Kids, Nutt, the head football coach at Arkansas, and Broyles, the UA athletic director, broached the subject last week during a well-attended news conference.

Basically, RazorFest III is a celebration of life, which, most certainly, fuels the flame of hope for abandoned, abused and/or neglected children.

Why? Because it's the right thing to do.

It's one of those feel-good moments one seldom gets, complete with heart strings being tugged at maximum torque.

It makes one really want to take inventory of what's really important because the youth of America is our future.

Essentially, it's a community project based on giving back, working together for a common good.

It is scheduled for April 16 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium in conjunction with the annual Arkansas Red-White spring football game.

If it's about children, it can't be wrong. Actually, it's perfect.

"It would shock most people in this prosperous area of Northwest Arkansas to discover that one in every four children in the state of Arkansas is reported abused physically or sexually," Schaeffer said. "One in four children in the state of Arkansas goes to bed hungry. You think about the future in the state of Arkansas, how can we continue in the prosperity we have if we lose a generation to those who have been abandoned, abused or neglected?"

Champions For Kids, says Schaeffer, enhances the awareness of the problem which is out there.

Seems like it's working, too.

Amen.

As part of this celebration of life, kids will enjoy a variety of activities. Games and a celebrity zone with players signing autographs brings more than a window dressing to this perhaps overdue event.

This particular day in history finalizes spring football practice and offers a 7-on-7 game, featuring former Razorbacks athletes.

More importantly, it'll be centered around children.

For the first two years, these games were played in Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium in Springdale, in October. There were 2,500 attending the first year, 6,000 a year ago.

"(UA running backs coach) Danny Nutt played in our game the first year," Schaeffer said. "I know one thing, he went back to Houston and said ‘Houston, our current players need to see this because this is ... these are the great players coming back and giving back to the community, they can see what the community meant to them or our current players can see what it means to be a Razorback.'

"So, this event is going to be all about kids."

Schaeffer predicts more than 30,000 will show up -- with the help of Nutt and Broyles they'll probably be tons more -- for this worthwhile project.

Sounds like everyone wins, especially the children.

So, circle those calendars.

"They'll be no charge for kids to come," Schaeffer said. "Kids who would never be able to walk into Razorback Stadium. We want them to come and have the day of their lives.

"You see what these players mean to these kids. There are a lot of kids who'll never be Razorbacks but when a former Razorback walks in that room, their eyes light up. They are excited about seeing those guys or being around a current Razorback.

"They may not even know some of these former players but when they sign that piece of paper or that football they are going to say, ‘I got a Razorback's autograph.' It's a big deal.

"So, we want to bring them hope. On this event, our organization is all about fueling the flame of hope."

"We want this to be a great day for kids in Northwest Arkansas."

And isn't that's what it's all about?

Amen.



JERRY L. REED IS A SENIOR SPORTS WRITER FOR THE MORNING NEWS. E-MAIL: JREED@NWAONLINE.NET




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