The 2019 Shrine Bowl will be coming to Dodge City.
That announcement is an abrupt about-face for the Shrine Bowl officials. Just 2 years ago Dodge City was one of three communities to give presentations as a finalist for hosting the 2017 game. Our community received a "thanks, but no thanks" letter and very little information as to why we weren’t selected as host.
At the same time, the Dodge City Daily Globe spoke with a Shriner who stated he doubted the game would ever be played west of Wichita.
Dodge City officials openly questioned whether to ever seek the Shrine Bowl again as they believed it was a waste of effort and time to bid in the future.
So, what happened? Why are we suddenly being asked to bid again? Why has Shrine Bowl officials suddenly selected Dodge City to be a host?
Our guess is the work of the Dodge City Sports Commission. In 2015, while trying to land the Shrine Bowl, the sports commission was on the verge of hosting the Class 1A, Division II State Basketball Tournament for the first time at United Wireless Arena.
That tournament was a tremendous success, with coaches and administrators all clamoring to come back to Dodge City for future state tourneys.
In 2016 our community hosted two state tournaments as the Class 1A, Division I tournament was played at the civic center while 1A, Division II was held at the arena. The sports commission was able to not only handle two tournaments, they did so with no problems and an abundance of good will.
This year continued Dodge City’s relationship with Class 1A, Division II, but there is also a Class 6A State Golf Tournament coming to our city this fall.
In other words, Dodge City’s abundance of hotel rooms, restaurants and hospitality make it one of the best locations in the state for sporting events.
The change of dates for the Shrine Bowl might have made a difference as well. Previously the Shrine Bowl and Dodge City Days would have happened at the same time. Now, the Shrine Bowl is being moved closer to the end of May and will have the spotlight all to itself when in Dodge City.
Still, the success of previous large sporting events is something the city is building on. We are getting a reputation as a terrific sports host — something the regional wrestling tournament every May has known for years — and with that reputation comes more events wanting to come and enjoy our community.
We applaud the Dodge City Sports Commission for the work they do, the work they’ve done and for their continued efforts to bring more to Dodge City.
We agree with many when we say we can host a state softball or baseball tournament. We are willing to continue hosting state basketball, but a state wrestling tournament would do well here as well.
We welcome the Shrine Bowl to our city. We believe they have made a great choice, but we’re a little biased in that regard.