For the sixth year in a row, the waterfront Blue Wahoos Stadium and Community Maritime Park will be transformed into a football, soul food and public safety festival on Saturday, October 21 for the Blue Wahoos Soul Bowl, presented by Troy Rafferty and the Levin-Papantonio Law Firm.
The Soul Bowl is a quarter-century tradition in Pensacola youth sports. The contest pits the football programs of Southern Youth Sports Association (SYSA) Tigers and the East Pensacola Rattlers against each other for a daylong festival of football, soul food, sportsmanship and unity.
Lumon May, one of the event organizers, worked with Quint Studer to bring the Soul Bowl from neighborhood football fields to the bayfront stadium downtown. The big game, big field, and big venue is the highlight of the year for many of the athletes who participate.
"This event is always an exciting day for these young men and women, many of whom don't get a chance to see the stadium up close, or play on a big stage downtown, and we're grateful to the Studers, the Blue Wahoos, the Levin Papantonio law firm and all our other sponsors and supporters for helping us make this a reality for so many children," said May.
"Our coaches use this event as a real motivating force to help make sure these young people stay out of trouble, stay in school, get good grades, and show good sportsmanship," May continued.
"Because if they don't do those things, they don't play on Soul Bowl day. So it isn't just about football, it's also about making sure these children learn about responsibility, respecting others, and respecting themselves," he said.
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, teams from the Tigers, Rattlers, and Bellview Packers will take to the gridiron at the Blue Wahoos Stadium. Teams from every age group will play throughout the day, with the traditional Unity Ceremony in the afternoon.
In addition, "soul food" vendors will line the area outside the stadium, and local first responders from the State of Florida, Escambia County, and City of Pensacola will showcase their vehicles, tools, equipment, and activities for Public Safety Day on the greens outside the stadium.
Sponsors for the 2017 Blue Wahoos Soul Bowl, presented by Troy Rafferty and the Levin-Papantonio Law Firm, include:
Baptist Health Care
City of Pensacola Police Department
City of Pensacola Parks & Recreation
Friends of Soul Bowl
Jim and Shirley Cronley
Sacred Heart Health System
Clark-Partington Law Firm
Gates will open at 7:00 a.m. and tickets are available at the Blue Wahoos box office. Tickets are $6 in advance, $8 at the door.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.