GREAT FALLS — The 73rd annual Montana East-West Shrine Game is set to kick off in Butte on Saturday, and the East Team arrived in Great Falls this past Sunday for three-a-day practices.
For some, the Shrine Game means one last chance to play with teammates and coaches from high school. But it’s also an opportunity to play with former rivals. Practice becomes extra competitive and brings out the best in everybody. It takes a little bit of time to put the past behind them, but after that, it’s all business.
“It’s almost easier to talk to them because you have a little bit of a history. But, putting that stuff aside, it’s pretty easy once you get to know them. They’re all good guys. They’re competitors just like you are,” said Wes Jameson, a linebacker from Lewistown. “We got a lot of strengths all over the field. We’ve got a lot of playmakers. This team is just loaded with talent. I really like our chances.”
It’s also an opportunity to be part of something bigger than football. Playing in the game means playing a part in raising money for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane. In the past 10 years, the Montana game has raised nearly $1 million.
“It’s awesome. I think a lot of us take playing football for granted. There’s so many kids that don’t have this available to them. I just can’t wait to play for the kids that have dreams of playing football,” said Fairfield safety Ryder Meyer. “We just get to do it every day just for a hobby. So I’m just honored to be able to play for them and represent the Shriner’s hospital.”