Until a Colleyville Heritage football player goes onto college and wins the prestigious trophy, Kelli Courreges may not smile so much when the Heisman trophy comes up in conversation.
“A lot of what we used to do, we’ve kind of gotten the Heisman stiff-arm because of COVID,” said Courreges, Colleyville Heritage Football Booster Club president. “We understand, though. We wanted to keep everyone safe.”
Like many booster clubs around the state, the Colleyville Heritage boosters had big goals for the 2020 season. They just weren’t quite sure how they’d raise the money necessary to meet those goals, especially without the club’s most popular event to rely on.
“In a normal year, we’d have our Panther Pride Night,” Courreges said. “It’s a full day, almost like a carnival, before the season starts.”
The annual event included games during the day before the community meets Heritage’s athletes from every sport and enjoys performances by the band, the drill team and the cheerleaders. Not having the event left a hole in the booster club’s budget, but not an insurmountable one.
“We are very fortunate,” Courreges said. “In a time where a lot of businesses really had to watch what they spend; we had a number of sponsors stay with us.”
One of those sponsors – Lewisville Autoplex – helped the club put together a raffle with the winner getting a new Mitsubishi G4. The club even had the car wrapped with Panther paws and took it to games, both home and away, to encourage people to buy tickets.
“We called that our Panther Ride fundraiser and the kids did a really good job of selling tickets,” she said. “We even let fans of the other teams know that we would take the wrapping off the car so they would feel comfortable buying tickets.”
Courreges said the club sold enough tickets to cover the cost of the car and then some. Then the parent who won the raffle gave the car back to the club, increasing the profit. That enabled the club to fund items that the district’s budget didn’t cover – leg braces for the offensive linemen; the school’s HUDL subscription, new uniforms and things necessary to continue to play during COVID.
“With COVID we wanted to get gaiters that the kids could wear and use as face coverings on the sidelines,” Courreges said. “The school doesn’t pay for a lot of these things. That’s a big eye-opener when people learn that.”
The raffle proceeds allowed the booster club to buy new uniforms and upgrade the public address system at the high school’s field. The club supplemented its fundraising by selling playoff shirts and by running the concession stand on the visitor’s side of the stadium during games.
With a 2020 season that proved more successful than expected both on and off the field, Courreges looks to close out the 2020 season with a banquet and hit the ground running for the 2021 season.
“We’ve gotten the all-clear [from the district] to have the banquet soon,” she said. “Especially for the seniors, we are trying to make this as special as possible.”
Once the banquet wraps up, the focus turns to planning for the 2021 season and how the club will help meet the program’s needs.
“We have a fantastic board that is creative and dedicated to be looking out for how we can make this a better experience for the boys,” Courreges said. “The more we can raise, the more we can do for the kids to help them have a great football experience.”
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