Loading, Please Wait...
Post Bulletin
     August 21, 2018      #70-232 PB1
Former Minnesota Gophers quarterback Rickey Foggie cheers at the football accuracy course during the Bolder Options Tailgate Challenge in this Post Bulletin file photo from 2016. Foggie is one of the professional athletes who will be attending this year’s fundraiser.

Post Bulletin file photo
Meet professional athletes, play games at Bolder

Lydia Hansen

The Rochester chapter of Bolder Options, a youth mentoring program, likes to take an unusual approach to its fundraisers.

Instead of a three-hour gala, Bolder Options holds a three-hour tailgate party, complete with games, sports memorabilia and the chance to meet professional athletes.

“We wanted to see what we could do with sports,” explained Program Director Scott Robinson of the fourth annual Sportacular Tailgate Challenge, which will be held on Saturday evening at Mayo Field.

That makes sense, given that Bolder Options’ executive director is Darrell Thompson, Rochester native and former player for the Minnesota Gophers and Green Bay Packers. In fact, Robinson says it’s Thompson’s connections to other professional athletes that makes it possible for Bolder Options to invite a dozen sports legends to participate in their fundraiser every year. And by participate, he doesn’t mean “sponsor.”

“The celebrities are actually out there hitting golf balls and throwing footballs and signing autographs,” Robinson said. “They’re totally involved, and it’s different from anything you’re going to see at a typical fundraiser.”

The event has been such a hit in past years that Bolder Options may need to consider changing the name to “fun”-raiser.

In addition to the chance to meet with some of Minnesota’s own professional athletes, participants in the tailgate challenge can compete in games, including a free-throw contest, home run derby, speed pitch, vertical jump and more.

And, in a fun twist, as players compete for points, they can award them to their choice of Rochester’s high schools. At the end of the day, Bolder Options will award its Corn Cob Trophy to the school that received the most points. For the last three years, that has been Mayo High School.

There will also be a raffle, silent auction and a live auction run by Rod Johnson, longtime Timberwolves announcer.

Other athletes attending the tailgate challenge this year include former Vikings and Minnesota Gophers players and coaches, former pro wrestler Kenny “Sodbuster” Jay, former National Hockey League star Shjon Podein, and former Lynx and Minnesota Twins stars.

In the past, the tailgate challenge has seen between 250 and 450 participants, although Robinson is hoping for closer to 600 this year. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate.

All funds raised from the event will go toward Bolder Options programming, which helps connect at-risk youths with one-on-one relationships with positive role models.

“The money we raise that night will provide programming to our kids and training to our mentors,” Robinson said. “Every cent they raise for us in Rochester stays in Rochester.”

If You Go

What: Bolder Options Sportacular Tailgate fundraiser

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25

Where: Mayo Field, 403 E Center St, Rochester

Cost: $35 or $110 family four-pack; www.bolderoptions.org/2018sportacular.

1 of 1
Lydia Hansen