Eleven Estevan-born football players are soon to make the trip to San Antonio, Texas for the annual Pigskin Classic. They'll be competing against teams from Texas and the neighbouring states, as well as Mexico. Since each player is making their own way down there, however, they needed to raise some money for their travel costs.
Six members of the team worked at McDonalds in Estevan on Thursday, February 7, where a dollar from every Big Mac purchased went to support the Sask Selects football team. All told, Estevan exercised their appetite for the burger hundreds of times.
"For every Big Mac sold, one dollar off the price went to the provincial team," said John Jenish, one of the owners of McDonalds. "I looked last night before I left and we were around $200."
Tyler Knibbs, whose son James will be among the selects headed to Texas, was grateful to McDonalds for the help, especially since parents and kids are making their own way south.
"You have to earn a spot on the team," Knibbs said, "but there's an expense to going down to the States. We get a discount, the team has done contracts with hotels, but for all the teams that go down it's no different than hockey if you're traveling for a tournament."
The six players enjoyed themselves as they helped out around the restaurant, and even got some support from their classmates.
"They had a pretty good time," Jenish said. "We just had them interacting with customers.Taking food out, clearing tables. They were mostly in the lobby and people were asking them a lot of questions."
He then added, "A lot of kids came in from the Comp to support them as well."
Several of these players are making their second or third trip to Texas, and McDonalds has supported the team in this way in the past.
"To get some financial support for kids who are trying to take that next step and have that experience of making this team," Knibbs said, "you've got to thank the business owners like those at McDonalds and elsewhere who step forward to help these guys."
"In terms of costs, locally football is one of the more affordable sports for your kid to be involved in. When you start earning a spot on a team like the Selects, now you're traveling. And these Selects kids, they bring in former and current coaches and player, university coaches and players to work with these kids on a weekly basis. That doesn't happen for free."
The Pigskin Classic will begin in San Antonio on February 23.