Dinner to benefit Placer High School football

Organizer says fundraiser will be annual event
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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As schools throughout the state continue to cut from athletic budgets from year to year, teams must continue to find new ways to raise funds in the post “pay-to-play” era of high school sports.

One such example is the Placer Hillmen football “Kick-Off” Fundraising Dinner, a new event starting this year that is taking place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds’ Placer Building.

Tickets ($25 for adults, $15 for children under 12) can be purchased at Big O Tires in Auburn, the CVS pharmacy at the Bel Air shopping center on Highway 49 or by calling 888-3614. All funds raised will go directly to the Placer Football Boosters Club to help fund freshman, junior varsity and varsity football.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the dinner, which will have a no-host cocktail hour. Around 7 p.m., tri-tip, chicken, salad, bread and vegetables will be served.

“It’s going to be a great night,” said Placer coach Joey Montoya. “We’ve had a lot of people working really hard on it. People are going to enjoy the night. It’s a great way to kick off the year and hopefully it can raise some money for us, too.”

The dinner is the brainchild of 1978 PHS alumnus Mark Davis, the chair of the event and newly elected vice president of the boosters club.

“For me, it started with this ACLU lawsuit thing where they can’t tell the kids to pay to play sports,” he said. “Everything is a suggested donation.

“Our district started implementing it last year. Half of the kids don’t pay. And there isn’t enough money for buses.”

Davis said the dinner, which will feature silent auctions and raffles, is different than the previous hot dog and BBQ events the team has held in the past on the football field.

“This is the first full-blown dinner with inviting outside people,” he said.

Silent auction items include donations from numerous community businesses to items donated straight off stores’ shelves.

One of the bigger prizes is a family pass to get front-row parking, reserved seating and dinner at the snack booth for all five Hillmen home games.

Other gift bags have various goodies from automotive dealers, tire dealers and gift certificates to area restaurants.

Davis said he’s hoping to have 300 people attend the dinner, which Tye Roe, a Placer alumnus who owns Bootleggers Old Town Tavern & Grill, will be helping with by donating time and running the kitchen.

Others assisting to put on the fundraiser include Davis’ wife, Gretchen, Todd Peek, president of the boosters club, and Julie Houston, committee chairman for the donations of raffles.

Davis wants the dinner to be an annual thing. He plans to run it for five years or so and hand it off to someone else.

“I just hope that we can scrape up 10 grand for the kids,” Davis said. “That’s my goal.”

The Hillmen open the season at Central Catholic of Modesto on Friday, Aug. 31.

Senior Eddie Vanderdoes, Placer’s star defensive lineman who recently verbally committed to Southern California, is looking forward to the season getting underway.

“We’re really excited to finally kick off the season,” he said. “But right now we’re focused on practicing and executing — getting our assignments right.”

Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel