The proposed Bloomfield football program doesn't have approval from the school board yet, but fundraising efforts are continuing to pick up steam with a goal to raise at least half of the money needed to field a team during the first year.
Proponents of starting a school-sponsored football program, beginning with junior varsity play in the fall of 2013, have incorporated into a not-for-profit organization ---- Bloomfield Football Booster Club, Inc.
Frank Starr, the Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps (NJROTC) co-commander, serves as the president of the booster club.
The group has a major fundraising event slated for Monday, Jan. 7 at the Indiana Army National Guard Armory in Linton to coincide with the BCS National Championship Football game pitting Notre Dame and Alabama playing for the college football crown.
The event, sponsored by the Bloomfield Booster Club, Indiana National Guard, Happy Matt's BBQ and Haywood's Printing & Stained Glass, kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. with an indoor field goal kicking contest and other pre-game events. The game, starting at about 8:30 p.m., will be shown on two 60-inch televisions from American Rental in Linton.
Cost is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The cost includes a barbecue meal prepared by Happy Matt's BBQ that will feature a pulled pork sandwich, cheese potatoes, beans, a dessert and drink. Various concessions will be offered throughout the evening, according to Starr.
This will be a family-friendly event open to all ages. No alcohol will be allowed, Starr stressed.
The event will feature a variety of raffles and 50/50 drawings. Among the prizes that have been donated for the raffle is an I-Pad 2 as well as a large number of coupons from local businesses.
Starr said those attending the champion game party are encouraged to wear their favorite jersey -- which could be the two teams pitted for the national champion as well as other favorite college or high school teams.
"We want this to be a fun event," he said. "We are pledged (to the school) for half the cost to start the program, which is about $31,000."
Starr said another similar event is being planned for the Super Bowl
The booster club has organized what is being called the 2013 "Kickoff Club", which is initial sponsors who are willing the cash donations prior to July 1.
"Those who contribute $250 or more during the time will be recognized on a (Bronze Award) plaque that will be publicly displayed," Starr said in pointing out that school officials have told him that construction of a sports complex that could include a football field probably won't be a reality for at least six years.
The brass plaque will be engraved with the donor's name.
The Kick-Off Club would also have other amenities for donations larger than $250. These include:
*Cardinal Award ($10,000 or more donation)-- Sponsors would receive a custom designed 20 inch by 24 inch framed painting by Bloomfield graduate and award-winning artist Wyatt LeGrand.
"The painting would be the choice of the sponsor. He'll paint anything they want," Starr told the Greene County Daily World.
* White Award ($5,000 donation) ---- Sponsors will receive a custom framed, matted photo print recognizing Bloomfield's return to football. The photo will feature the 1942 Bloomfield team -- the last to take the field, and the 2013 team, denoting the return of the sport to the county-seat community.
*Black Award ($2,500 donation) ---- Sponsors will receive a framed authentic Cardinals jersey with the number of choice.
* Platinum Award ($1,000 donation) ---- Sponsor will receive an authentic full-sized Cardinals helmet.
* Gold Award ($750 donation) ---- Sponsor will received a cased, custom stamped Cardinals football.
* Silver Award ($500) ---- Sponsors will receive a cased Cardinals replica mini-helmet.
A Bloomfield school team playing a varsity schedule would not take the field until the fall of 2016 under the proposal, which by Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines has to include three years of junior varsity play.
"Until a revenue stream is created, the community (football league) would continue to fund half of the annual operating costs while the school would fund the remaining half," Starr told the school board at a recent meeting.
The board is not likely to act on the request to establish a school football team until either the February or March meetings, Starr said.
He did say that enthusiasm and support for the program is building among the Bloomfield community and some school administrators.
Starr, a retired U.S. Navy First Lieutenant, who co-directs the school's award-winning NJROTC program, said initially, 9th through 12th graders would play a JV schedule for the first three years. During the same period, 7th and 8th graders would engage in a junior high school schedule.
All games, until a home field could be constructed, would be played on the road or by using rented facilities at area schools, including Linton-Stockton, North Daviess and Eastern Greene, according to Starr.
Starr said the Booster Club also has a fundraising event set at Casey's Country Store on State Road 54 West in Linton Jan. 5. Members and players will be pumping gas that day from 8 a.m. with a percentage going to the Booster Club's fund.
A car wash conducted a week ago at Auto Zone in Linton raised $367 on a very chilly day for the Booster Club.
"We're just out there trying to make something out of nothing," Starr said, "It's going well."
To buy tickets to the championship game fundraiser, to donate cash or items to be raffled off, contact Starr by calling 384-9628 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.