Jonathan Brantley with the Bruce Thompson Insurance Group said his company is using the program to raise funds through the sale of tickets for a chance to make those two kicks.
The insurance group gives the proceeds and makes donations to the athletic programs at the two schools.
“We started out intending to just generate some buzz and have some fun stuff for the schools,” Brantley said, “but then saw it as an opportunity to help their athletic programs.”
Brantley said the tickets, which cost $1, are being sold at the home games of each of the schools until just shortly before halftime.
“We quit selling early enough that we can hold the drawing to select our kickers and get them on the field to make their kicks,” he said. “If they decide they don’t want to kick, we still have enough time for them to select someone to kick for them or to draw again.”
Brantley said the kicking attempts go quickly. “We have about four minutes to get them on the field and get both of their kicks attempted. I’d say they make about 50 percent of their attempts.”
He said the successful kickers receive a $75 Visa gift card but no actual money changes hands.
“You can give a minor a gift card but not cash,” he explained.
Brantley said the kicks are a halftime attraction. “This is more of a fun thing for the fans to enjoy and the winners to kick. We have had all the way from a seventh grader to one guy who was 40 years old participate. I think the fans enjoy watching it. Halftime usually has a lull and this gives them something to watch that doesn’t take long.”
He said drawing winners may make the kick themselves or let someone kick on their behalf. “Most kick for themselves,” he added.
He said the kickers are fun to watch even before they attempt their kicks.
“They usually go from being excited about having their names drawn to getting nervous when it’s time to kick. That’s when they start asking how should they kick, where should they line up, etc.,” he said. “When they make it, the crowd really responds, too.”
He said the winners can be anyone and in about any situation.
“One lady said it was her daughter’s birthday,” he said. “She said, ‘This will let me do something for my daughter on her birthday,’ and that makes you feel even better knowing it’s helping a family in that way.”
He said the amount contributed to the schools fluctuates with game attendance.
Souvenir footballs also are given out.
He said the program lets his company give back to those it does business with. “Bartow County has been good for us and we want to give back.”