Festivities for the 2011 VisitNich.com Bowl got under way Aug. 4 with a press conference at the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce.
The four head coaches from the competing schools were on hand to give members of the media and local officials a taste of what they should expect to see on the field next Friday, Aug. 19, when football season kicks off.
Somerset coach Robbie Lucas, Tates Creek coach Mike Harmon, West Jessamine coach Graham Heasley and East Jessamine coach Mike Bowlin spoke briefly about their respective teams and top players.
Bowlin gave background on how the bowl had been a dream of his for several seasons.
“I’ve been at the East Jessamine football program since 2005, and everything I was ever told was, ‘You’ve got to beat West Jessamine,’” Bowlin said. “I talked to coach Paul Roher (the first football coach at East) ... and David Hensley (the second football coach at East), and they said there’s nothing like the East/West game, nothing like it you’ve ever been through in your life — it compares to a state championship atmosphere. The whole town is going to be there, and for the one night, the whole town of Jessamine County is going to be crazy about football.”
After his first East/West game, Bowlin realized how much the town really did care about football and realized this would be the perfect community for a bowl game.
“You’ve got two schools; you’ve got all these people piling in and of course that particular night we’re all after each other,” Bowlin said. “But wouldn’t it be cool if one time we could play and everyone could pull for both teams and we could get a bowl together?”
The idea didn’t pan out in 2006. In 2010 when Ken Cox became district athletic director, Bowlin brought the idea up again, and Cox agreed that it was a great idea and began putting it together.
Nearly 11 months since the first meeting with Nicholasville Tourism Commission at the chamber of commerce, Cox was back talking the coaches through game-day events and what they should expect when they arrive in Jessamine County next Friday for the first VisitNich.com Bowl at East Jessamine.
Kickoff for the first game, East Jessamine vs. Tates Creek, is 6:35 p.m.
West Jessamine vs. Somerset will kick off 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, approximately 8:50 p.m.
Residents of Jessamine County and those familiar with the area are asked to park at East Jessamine Middle School.
The district is providing buses to shuttle fans, free of charge, from East Middle to East High.
Admission to the bowl is $7 for both games.