Aug. 24, 2009
ST. GEORGE, Utah - In a year which has seen many individuals, businesses, and organizations fall to a slumping and weak economy, a 23-year southern Utah tradition has fallen prey to the poor economic conditions. The announcement was made today at the regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of St. George that the Dixie Rotary Bowl would not be held in 2009, a direct result of an inability to raise enough sponsorship dollars to support bowl operations.
The Dixie Rotary Bowl was sanctioned in 1986 as the first post-season college bowl game in Utah. It was created through the efforts of members of the Rotary Club of St. George led by Thomas D. McArthur, then president of the club, and Randy Wilkinson who served as chairman of the organizing committee. Their purpose was to create an event that would bring exposure to the community, fund community service projects and provide a platform to share the Rotary message.
From 1986 through 2005, the Dixie Rotary Bowl was known as the "Biggest Junior College Bowl Game in the Nation" with teams from across the country vying to participate. In those years, Dixie State was a perennial top-contender in the NJCAA and played in all but one of the 20 JUCO bowl contests as the host school.
In 2006, Dixie State made the jump to NCAA Division II and after consideration, the Board of Trustees for the Dixie Rotary Bowl made the decision to pursue becoming a NCAA DII bowl game, realizing that without a local school participating, attendance would decline dramatically for a JUCO bowl game. After a transition game in 2006, featuring Dixie State and top-non-playoff contender Fort Lewis from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the bowl finalized an agreement to feature top teams from the RMAC and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The increased expense of hosting a NCAA Division II bowl during these challenging economic times has proved to be insurmountable and led to this year's decision to suspend the game. The Board of Trustees for the bowl continue to look at options for the future, seeking to continue a tradition of pride and success that began in 1986 with the vision of a handful of Rotarians from St. George.
Bad Economy Ends Dixie Rotary Bowl
The Dixie Rotary Bowl, which matched teams from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, has been discontinued.
Officials of the bowl cited a weak economy and an inability to raise enough sponsorship dollars to support bowl operations as the reasons for scrubbing the 23-year-old bowl game.
The Dixie Rotary Bowl was sanctioned in 1986 as the first postseason college bowl game in Utah. From 1986 to 2005, the bowl matched two-year colleges and was known as the "Biggest Junior College Bowl Game in the Nation." Local team Dixie State, then a two-year college, was a perennial NJCAA contender and played in all but one of the 20 two-year college bowl contests as the host school.
In 2006, Dixie State reclassified to Division II, and bowl officials recast the game as a Division II bowl, realizing that attendance for a junior college bowl would decline dramatically without a local school participating.
After a transition game in 2006, featuring Dixie State and Fort Lewis, the bowl finalized an agreement to feature top teams from the RMAC and the GNAC that weren't already participating in the Division II playoffs.
GNAC teams won the last two matchups. Western Oregon beat Colorado Mines, 26-12, in 2007, and Western Washington beat Colorado Mines, 25-10, last year.