It was another extremely warm day when we arrived in Rushville at Riverside Park for Saturday’s Fan Fest. But when has a little heat and humidity stopped us before? With Tiny riding shotgun in our caravan, we drove down the winding gravel road only to be greeted like rock stars by the staff members from the park. “Feel free to make yourselves at home in the green room!” one of the staff members told us. Green room?! Ok, I think I can handle this celebrity treatment.
Little did we know that we would be sharing the green room with Free Fallin’, one of the best Tom Petty tribute bands in the area. One of the band members even offered us VIP passes to the show later in the evening. However, because we’re always so busy during the Fan Fest we had to decline his offer. I hope some lucky Colts fan was able to enjoy the VIP experience!
Rushville is the smallest city that our Fan Fest has visited this summer, but this community is definitely not lacking in Colts spirit. Fans spilled in from all directions decked out in their favorite Colts gear. Several fans waited in line to purchase a new jersey for the upcoming season. I listened to one young fan give a very convincing argument to his parents as to why he needed a new Andrew Luck jersey. “But Dad, he’s my favorite player! I need it!”
Colts Rookie, Dwayne Allen, took in his first experience meeting Colts fans at the Rushville Fan Fest event. “I’ve never been to Rushville, but these fans seem like they love the Colts. It’s cool to see that they’re just as eager for football season to start,” said Allen.
Allen gave a shout out to the Rushville community through Twitter later in the evening with his tweet, “…Awesome town with great fans!”
I was especially excited to visit Rushville because my family decided to come out for the event! My parents, grandfather and aunt all came to the Fan Fest. They claim that they were there to visit with me, but I think they were more excited about registering to win free tickets and getting some autographs. I tried to convince my dad to take a trip down the inflatable slide or at least spend a few minutes inside the bounce house, but he wasn’t feeling it. That would’ve made for the perfect Kodak moment.
By the time I talked to Michelle and Tom Richardson and their son Adam they had endured the heat for more than an hour, but they weren’t planning on leaving anytime soon. Adam went to a Colts game a few seasons ago with tickets he won from a radio contest. “His dad and I are hoping his luck will rub off on us, and we’ll win some tickets from the register-to-win!” said Michelle.
The field goal challenge was a huge hit with the fans. Anyone and everyone took their turn at the tee. Even fellow Colts intern Ally tried to see if she could make it through the posts. While she gave it a valiant effort, after coming off a hip surgery a few months ago, her leg strength wasn’t quite there.
What a fun way to end a busy week of Fan Fests! With two of our favorite players, the inflatables, the Pro Shop, Colts In Motion and of course, Tiny, we went all out for our Rushville fans. Thank you, Rushville fans for coming out to show your Colts spirit. We know that we can count on you to be COLTSTRONG this season!
We’ll be back on the road again this week with Tiny leading the way down to Princeton Wednesday and New Albany Thursday. We’re excited to meet some crazy Colts fans down in Southern Indiana!
Tags: Colts In Motion, ColtStrong, dwayne allen, fan fest
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Eagles-Spartans Battle for National Tournament Spot
Every team eyes an opportunity to get together as a unit and improve as a team. That is what the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana National Guard offered 64 high school teams across the state of Indiana over the past two weekends.
64 teams had the opportunity to represent the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL High School Player Development 7-on-7 National Tournament in July, and now only two teams.
The Heritage Christian Eagles were the champions of the South Regional Tournament June 16th, and the Homestead Spartans were crowned the North Regional Champs Saturday June 23rd. Now both teams will battle Tuesday night for the state championship but more importantly the bid to the NFL HSPD National 7-on-7 Tournament.
In 7-on-7, there are no running plays allowed, which means teams are forced to throw the football and test their respective skilled position players. Both Heritage Christian and Homestead had their teams tested already in their regionals but those players get an even bigger test in the championship game.
Looking at the Eagles, it all starts and ends with Prime Time 25 wide receiver and safety Anthony Warrum who complied 1,268 receiving yards along with 15 touchdown receptions, but also captured 3 interceptions along with 30 solo tackles during the 2011 season
Homestead on the other hand has a plethora of options for quarterback Alec Hamman. One of the top receivers in the state is senior wide receiver Isaac Griffith. Last season, Griffith racked up 1,112 receiving yards along with 22 touchdown receptions.
Even though Griffith gets most of the attention, his counterparts take full advantage of him getting that attention. Connor Houser had a big day Saturday afternoon for the Spartans as well. Kam Hladish earned the Army Values Award.
As with any 7-on-7 game, whichever defense can make more big plays will win the game, especially between two teams like the Eagles and Spartans. Everyone knows about their weapons on offense, so both teams will put points on the board.
Knowing that both offenses will put up points due to their great caliber, it is important for the defenses to stay strong and focused and come up with the game changing stop or interception.
Tuesday night will be an exciting game between two teams that are both worthy of representing the Indianapolis Colts, but only one will be able to move on and have the great opportunity come July.
The Championship game is tonight at the Indiana Farm Bauru Football Center and be sure to check back to Colts.com/MyIndianaFootball for complete coverage on tonight’s game!
My Indiana Football Reporter
Tags: 7-on-7, High School Football, HSPD, My Indiana Football
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The Beach Boys said it best when they sang “There’s a place called Kokomo. That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all.” Tiny, myself and the rest of the Colts crew spent last Friday enjoying the sights and sounds of Kokomo, Ind. at our third Fan Fest of the summer.
Before we arrived at our Fan Fest location, we stopped at our FAVORITE Jimmy John’s restaurant. Randall, our FAVORITE Jimmy John’s employee greeted us like regulars. We practically are considering we’ve stopped to eat at the Kokomo JJ’s twice in one week. I’m not complaining!
When we finally reached our Fan Fest location, it was go time. At this point in the summer the Colts intern staff works like a well-oiled machine. We strive for extreme efficiency while setting up for each Fan Fest. Despite a few twisted inflatables and the big, bad Tiny becoming tangled with some tree limbs, things went off without a hitch.
I met with a few fans while they waited for the players and cheerleaders to arrive. Sue, one of Kokomo’s biggest fans stood at the front of the line eager to meet Justin Snow and Joe Reitz. Sue endured the heat all afternoon waiting in the park while we set up for the event. Once the traveling Colts Pro Shop arrived, Sue was first in line to get some shopping done. “I bought some cute Colts earrings to send to one of my best friends in Utah. She cheers for the Colts all the way out there!” said Sue.
Finally, the Colts players and cheerleaders arrived on stage and the fun began! Both Reitz and Snow have traveled throughout Indiana this summer to meet Colts fans. Reitz, who signed autographs in LaPorte last Wednesday, was extremely impressed with how the crowds turned out again in Kokomo.
“It’s awesome to see this amount of support from our fans in Kokomo,” said Reitz. “This is what it’s all about.”
Curt, Stephanie, their two children Kendall and Bryce were all very excited to meet the players and take part in the rest of the Fan Fest fun. Kendall and Bryce informed me that they had never been to a Colts game. “But it is my birthday in four days!” said Bryce. Mom and Dad, I think he was directing this toward you. Don’t you think a trip down to Lucas Oil for a game this season would make for the perfect birthday present? – – You’re welcome, Bryce!
So what was the highlight of the Kokomo Fan Fest? The famous Daisy the Derby Duck showed up to meet some of her favorite Colts players! Daisy is with the Samaritan Caregivers, an organization affiliated with the United Way that helps care for elderly citizens in the community. Daisy was able to get her picture taken with Reitz and Snow before mingling with the rest of the Kokomo Colts fans. I think the players were just as excited to meet Kokomo’s famous duck as she was to meet them.
When it was finally time to deflate the bounce house, fans drifted over to the concert stage to listen to the Legendary Poco perform some of their famous hits. The Colts crew was even able to enjoy some tunes while we packed away the stage, tents and Tiny, of course.
Kokomo Colts fans, thanks for welcoming us to your town. You all are awesome! Braving the heat and long lines, I can tell this city loves the Colts just as much as Tiny and I do. If the Beach Boys are singing about how amazing your city is, then you know you’re big time. I mean, it’s the only place they want to go! Thanks for the fun times, Kokomo!
Tags: fan fest, joe reitz, justin snow
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