140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shrine East-West All Star Game has colorful history

Montana's game is the longest running Shrine High School All-Star game in U. S.

The Montana East-West Shrine game, which matches the best high school football players in Big Sky Country against each other, is a tradition that dates back to Aug. 24, 1947. All proceeds of this gridiron classic, which has raised more than $1,000,000 since its inception, are donated to the Spokane Shrine Hospital. The 2010 game alone raised $106,000, according to game chairman Dennis Lindsay.

The longest running Shrine game in the nation began 63 years ago with the “Big Red” of the West defeating the “Golden East” by a score of 33-13. These nicknames from the different sides come from the uniform designs that hold true today. The uniforms are red with gold trim for the West, and gold with red for the boys from the East.

After the first game took place, the coaches urged that the Committee make the contest an annual project. The Committee agreed and the game was incorporated by the late Roger Silvernale, the game's founder and first chairman.

Over six decades later, the East leads the all-time series 35 wins to 26 for the West.

Some prominent figures from the annual match-up's history include Big Ed Kalafat, star for the Minnesota Gophers and later the Lakers pro club, who was a 1950 selection from Anaconda.
Another Anaconda selection, Pat Monno, scored three touchdowns in the 1953 game for 18 points which is the most scored by an individual in the game's history. This mark was later tied by Helena's Bob McCullough in 1958; Billings West's Ken Hustad in 1968; and Jody Farmer of Libby in 1986.

The star of the 1991 game was Dave Dickenson from CMR, who later became an All-American Quarterback for the Montana Grizzlies and an MVP in the Canadian Football League in 2000.

In the 2006 game, another former Griz great, Andrew Selle of Billings West, and Matt Komac from Helena High staged a quarterback duel that tied a game record with 76 combined points scored.

While the East-West game for Montana was the first of its kind with an in-state format, the very first Shrine game dates back to 1925. This was the first of 85 games played (so far) that match-up the best college players in the entire United States against each other every January. The game, to this date, is a very important step for NFL prospects, as the stands are filled with scouts looking to see what gifted players can perform like up against other great players.
The college format Shrine game, which later spawned separate state games, originated from an annual baseball game between two San Francisco fraternities: The Shriners and the Elks. The two groups had played a baseball game for years, with all proceeds going to Shriners Hospital for Children. They decided to switch the sport to football because of its growing popularity at the time. The Shriners proposed the idea and E. Jack Spaulding got the first game organized.

The inaugural game in 1925, which raised $25,000 for the San Francisco Shrine Hospital, was the beginning of a football tradition like no other.
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