Pop Warner invades Fallon for jamboree
For the second time in as many weeks, Fallon was at the center of the Northern Nevada youth football universe.
About 60 teams from Lake Tahoe, Fallon, Portola and Quincy, Calif., Reno, Carson City, Minden and Fernley converged for the Sagebrush Empire Pop Warner league’s annual jamboree at the Churchill County Regional Fields.
Players officially weighed in and participated in several scrimmages before the regular season kicks off Sept. 8.
Fallon Pop Warner president Ralph Ratti said the event ran smooth and was a hit amongst visitors. It was the first time Fallon hosted the event, and the city and county was well prepared.
“We had a good crowd,” Ratti said. “Everything went smooth … we finished on time and had no major glitches.”
The scrimmages allowed teams to practice against an opponent and was used as a tool for preparations still needed before the season. The Regional Fields consisted of five field cut in half to allow 10 scrimmages at once.
Teams played for 30 minutes and split their time between offense and defense. Hundreds of youth football players roamed the fields while friends and family watched from the sidelines.
“When I walked through … they were all saying good show and it’s best it’s been,” Ratti said.
The future of the event, meanwhile, is up for discussion, according to Ratti. He said Sagebrush Empire president, Robert Bates, was impressed and is willing to listen to a proposal from the Fallon league in hopes of hosting the event next year.
Ratti said he wasn’t sure if Pop Warner would agree to a contract, as was the case with the Sierra Youth Football League, but said it’s a possibility.
“If the league wants to do something like that, it’s fine with me,” he added.
Fallon secured the jamboree after consulting with the Head League Authority. Fallon Pop Warner provided all concessions, bounce house and was aided by Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority executive director Rick Gray with shade tents and parking plans.
In addition, the league and city worked together to secure discounts at hotels and several local businesses.
“We worked all summer on it,” Ratti explained. “This year, we are going to ask for it earlier and work a lot harder on it.”
Ratti also hopes the attention generated from the jamboree will increase participation in Pop Warner. The league took a hit when the Sierra Youth Football League was created, but the league added teams from Fernley this season.
“We would always like more kids,” Ratti said. “The parents and coaches are all on board. This is the best I’ve seen it 23, 24 years.”
The Fallon league will also host its annual Fun Day on Sept. 7. The festivities include bounce houses, concessions, player introductions and conclude with a bonfire.
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