The greatest events are those which affect the greatest number for the longest periods.
Based on its achievement, the Dave Ross Bowl has been like the Super Bowl for fighting a great cause.
The annual non-profit rec league football games celebrate their 10th anniversary on Sunday, November 3 when the young stars of the future take to the field at Dwight Bogle Stadium for an afternoon of games and family fun. Activities play out on the artificial turf behind Cave Spring Middle School on Brambleton Avenue, home to both the Cave Spring Knights and Hidden Valley Titans high school football teams.
The goal is to raise breast cancer awareness to our youth and young adults while fundraising for the local Susan G. Komen, Virginia Blue Ridge.
The bowl gets its name from local iconic broadcaster Dave Ross, who has put an emphasis on supporting youth athletics since arriving in Roanoke in 1975. Ross, whose unmistakable voice has long been familiar while broadcasting high school football and basketball on television and radio throughout Southwest and Central Virginia for over four decades, will be calling the play-by-play from the press box during the entirety of the Dave Ross Bowl that day.
The event began in 2010 when current co-director K.C. Bratton realized that there was no football championship game in Roanoke County for the younger kids.
“A bunch of parents and myself got together to have this,” Bratton noted in an interview with The Star. “We approached Dave Ross to add his name to the event because of his long history of supporting high school and youth sports. We thought it would be exceptional to have his great voice booming over the field with his play-by-play over the loudspeaker. It’s something you never saw at a youth game.”
“We also approached Susan G. Komen, Virginia Blue Ridge with the proposal to donate all proceeds from the event to their effort to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer,” Bratton added.
Having the Susan G. Komen group involved had an additional connection for Bratton, whose mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My mom had been diagnosed with bladder cancer,” Bratton recalled this week. “She was sick, but made it to that first Dave Ross Biddy Bowl in 2010. It was the only time she ever saw my son and her grandson play in a football game. I can still picture her standing in the stands that day and waving. That day was very special for me and it made me more determined to keep this event going the way it has.”
“Anyone who goes through cancer with a loved one knows the difficulty,” Bratton pointed out. “In 2010 the trend had just started to wear pink to make people aware of the importance of cancer screening.”
Along with the hard work of Bratton and co-director Timberly Robertson, plus the unmistakable voice of Ross calling the action, the Dave Ross Bowl has become an early-November staple for youth football tied to cancer awareness. To date, the Dave Ross Bowl has raised more than $20,000.
“I was very honored when they asked to use my name,” Ross says. “The original name was the Dave Ross Biddy Bowl, reflecting the emphasis on the younger players. But, tackle football transitioned to flag football for the youngest players, so the name was changed.”
“The longer it went, I was confident it would keep going because of all the hard work by the Dave Ross Bowl committee.”
“The Dave Ross Bowl helps these young players learn the fundamentals of football as well as the importance of hard work, dedication and good sportsmanship,” Ross emphasizes. “It’s also for a great cause and shows all the positive aspects of football as these young players are not only the stars of the future, but more importantly, can go on to be productive citizens in the community.”
This year’s Dave Ross Bowl will feature four games with ages 7/8-Under, 8-Under, 10-Under and 12-Under players. Gates open at 11 AM with the first game set to kickoff at 11:30 AM.
Fans are encouraged to come out for a great afternoon of football and to help support a great cause.