In the community

Event a yearly boost for Ontario football team, community

The Ontario varsity football team rallies before a game last year. Ontario Friends of Football will hold a dinner and auction for the program Saturday at the Elks Club. Photo courtesy of Rhonda Hawker

ONTARIO – More than two years ago, Kim Lopez wanted to make a difference.

Football, she decided, was the way to do it.

“Football in a small community is the best way to build your community,” said Lopez.

Lopez joined forces with a small group of parents to create the Ontario Friends of Football to raise money for the Tiger program.

One of the group’s biggest fundraisers – the Cardinal & Corn Dinner and Auction – is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ontario Elks Club. Ontario Friends of Football is part of the Ontario High School Boosters Club. 

 “It is a great way to get the community back involved with the athletic programs in Ontario,” said Lopez.

The event is also successful. Lopez said last year the dinner and auction sold out and raised more than $40,000. 

“It is an event to bring the community together. It is not just about the money but about enthusiasm for the football program,” said Lopez.

Lopez, a co-owner of Treasure Valley Steel, said while the school district funds the football program, her group “fills in with the extras they need in the program.”

Those extras include items such as travel gear for the varsity football team, shade canopies, a new time clock and IPads for the coaching staff. 

The group also used money from the 2017 auction to buy $18,000 in equipment for the high school weight room, a new roof on the football equipment shed, and a new blocking sled.

“And we just got the scoreboard refurbished,” said Lopez.

Lopez said the dinner and auction will feature the band Simple Ruckus. Also, former Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman will speak at the event. Wrightman was a member of the 1985-1986 World Champion Bears. 

“We’ve had some great support in the community. They know this money goes directly to the football program,” said Lopez.

Tiger head football coach Eric Johnson said the dinner and auction is a big deal.

“It is not just football but about getting everybody involved,” said Johnson.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.