DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic has found a popular home at historic Waterhouse Field in Biddeford, where it has been located since the game’s second edition.
But when the state’s top high school senior football players gather in mid-July to practice for next summer’s 26th annual charity all-star contest, they’ll be doing so in a new location.
Maine Shrine officials have selected Foxcroft Academy as the host site for next year’s Lobster Bowl’s weeklong pre-game training camp, which will begin July 12, 2015. The game is scheduled for Saturday, July 18.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing,” said Rick Hersom, newly elected potentate of the Kora Temple in Lewiston. “We still have some things we need to work out, but we’re excited, and I think they’re excited.”
The training camp, which involves two teams of nearly 50 players each from football-playing schools around the staff as well as coaching staffs, has been held most recently at Hebron Academy, located northwest of the Lewiston-Auburn area.
Foxcroft Academy officials, particularly football head coach Danny White, had expressed interest in bringing the training camp to Dover-Foxcroft in recent years, and after a tour of the school’s campus last week by Maine Shriners general chairman Jim Henneman, the decision to switch sites was made.
“Danny White has been a great supporter of the Lobster Bowl, and he’s been in contact with us at different times about giving them the opportunity to host our camp, and this year, it’s going to be a great fit as far as we’re concerned,” said Hersom. “Danny knows what this game is all about.”
School officials are looking forward to bringing the weeklong training camp to Piscataquis County.
“It’s a great honor to work with the Maine Shriners, who work tirelessly in supporting essential medical services for young people,” said Foxcroft head of school Arnold Shorey. “The Lobster Bowl is a great Maine football tradition, and I want to thank head coach Dan White for all of his persistence in creating this amazing opportunity for our community.”
Hersom said the availability of two air-conditioned dormitories and the ample practice facilities at Foxcroft were two factors in the selection. The Maine Shriners also are expected to save money with the switch — money Hersom said could instead go to the game’s annual beneficiary, the 22 Shrine Hospitals for Children across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“They didn’t make us a lot of promises,” said Hersom. “They just said they’d do whatever they could do to make it work, and we’re excited. It’s going to give us an opportunity to do some more donating to the hospital because we’re going to save some money, and that’s what it’s all about, raising money for our kids.”
Team rosters for the game consist of high school seniors nominated by their coaches and then selected by the coaches of each Lobster Bowl squad.
Players and cheerleaders chosen to participate in the game then fulfill a fundraising requirement, which is in conjunction with gate receipts from the event’s donation to the Shrine Hospitals once expenses are paid.
“What people don’t realize is it costs us about $140,000 to put this game on,” said Hersom. “You’ve got to do an awful lot of fundraising, you’ve got to have a great bunch of kids to come up with the money to help us support the game.”
The West leads the series 17-8, but the East has won six of the last nine Lobster Bowls, including a 32-13 victory in front of 6,500 fans last summer.