The Winston-Salem Tiny Vikings are counting down the weeks until “Clash of the Jr. Pee Wee and Pee Wee Invitational Bowl.”
For the very first time, the Vikings, a member of Pop Warner’s Northwest Midget Football League, is hosting bowl games for Jr. Pee Wee and Pee Wee teams on Nov. 3. The Vikings are hoping to attract teams from all across Pop Warner’s Mid-South Region to join them on their home field at Mineral Springs Middle School for a day of fun and football.
“This is our first annual bowl game, and we are very excited about it,” said Vikings President Barbara Stowe, who is hoping to have 10 teams facing off in each division.
Each team will come away with something.
“There’s no winner in a bowl game. Each team’s going to get a trophy and every child gets a medallion,” explained Stowe, the director of new accounts and sales for Winston-Salem Federal Credit Union. “They’re just out here to have fun.”
There will be a $5 admission fee for everyone five-years-old and older. Proceeds will benefit the Vikings organization, which relies heavily on the generosity of the business community and individuals and also offers tutoring and a free summer reading program for players.
“We have 150 boys and 80 of our boys are playing for free because they don’t have the funds, but for me to keep them off the street, I let them come on in,” said the mother of two.
Currently, Pop Warner teams are gearing up for championship games, Stowe said. Teams compete for the top spot within the League, then the region, before heading to Disney World to compete in the coveted national championship over the Thanksgiving weekend. The bowl games, which run through Nov. 19, serve as a consolation prize for the teams who don’t make it to the higher levels, and allow the players a little more time on the field, explained Stowe, who won’t know which teams will be available to compete in the bowls until after championship season.
Jr. Pee Wee Coach William Aikens said he and his team are looking forward to playing on their own turf at the bowl game this year.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for them to get some exposure and also to represent Northwest Midget in the first annual Invitational,” said Aikens, a machinist who has been a Vikings coach for two decades. “This group right here is a tough group and so far this year, we’ve averaged only giving up 10 points a game, so we always play tough.”
The Vikings have participated in the Winston-Salem Tiny Indians bowl game, “The Indian Pride Classic,” for years, and Indians Football Commissioner Carletta Rice said she is planning to return the favor this year by sending some of her teams over to support the Clash.
“It’s a community thing, first of all. We consider the Vikings one of our sister community teams, and we always try to participate to show support for each other,” said the mother of two whose son, Clayton Rice III, was a third generation Tiny Indian player. “We always look forward to when we can go and actually spend some time with our fellow teams. It’s pretty friendly, and that’s what makes it fun.”
The Clash of the Jr. Pee Wee and Pee Wee Invitational Bowl will be held Saturday, Nov. 3 beginning at 8 a.m. A second venue may be added if needed. For more information or to make a donation to the organization, contact Stowe at 749-2833 or HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com.