Cranbrook has been without a minor football program since 2011, but due to the efforts spearheaded by Lori Harris that is about to change.
Harris is leading the charge to reactivate the Rocky Mountain Rams Football Association and give boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 years old a chance to play football.
“My son loves football and he wanted to go to Coeur d’Alene with one of his friends [to play through the school district],” Harris said of getting the Rams back up and running. “All they offer Cranbrook is rugby [though].
“[But] a lot of kids don’t like rugby. [Some] don’t like running, they like pushing and throwing, and they don’t like baseball [either].”
Harris and her son then started to test the waters of a privately operated football club. They ran ads and, in addition to a few previous Rams’ coaches coming on board, soon found Daniel Herrick, a coach from Saskatoon, to lead the association.
“We decided that we’re going to do flag football [as] a learning camp [in the fall],” Harris explained. “We’re going to do it for about six weeks [and will have] registration for that in about two weeks.”
While only cleats, shirt and shorts will be necessary to join for flag football, the goal is to be fully equipped by the spring. Although Harris said that there is some leftover equipment stored at the College of the Rockies, much will have to be replaced including helmets.
“We’re going to hit the community with hot dogs, bottle drives, [selling] cookie dough,” Harris said of plans to raise funds. “Hopefully, through the fall and the winter, the community in Cranbrook can help each child join for free in the spring.”
In their current phase, the Rams are approaching businesses in Cranbrook to seek funds or donations for the equipment. The team is, in turn, offering sponsors to have their company name and logo advertised on the back of t-shirts for any advertising done for the Rams.
Although the association does not plan to play other teams in the district in their first season, Harris hopes that in the spring the team could travel for some competition.
“We’re aiming to go to Coeur d’Alene where we’ll play a football team, or [go to] Penticton or Kelowna,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great sport for kids in Cranbrook to learn and play.”
While the goal is to be a program that charges athletes and plays full-contact by the fall of 2018, for now, the Rams’ plan is for kids to play free of charge, responsible only for providing their own cleats.
In addition to donations and sponsorship, the Rams are also looking for any volunteers that might be interested in helping out the program. Coaches, exercise instructors, according to Harris “any community support would be greatly appreciated”.
For more information on the Rams fledgling team, the program’s Facebook page “Rocky Mountain Rams Football” will be regularly updated with news on their development.