Sod used for Phoenix bowl game donated for Fort Mohave youth field
FORT MOHAVE, Ariz. (AP) — The Guaranteed Rate Bowl ended with Minnesota winning the college football bowl game against West Virginia, 18-6, but a Colorado River community in western Arizona also emerged with a win.
Long before the game was played Tuesday night, bowl officials decided the sod temporarily installed at Chase Field in Phoenix would be donated for use as a sports field at a new Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River facility.
The facility is expected to open sometime this year in the Bullhead City suburb of Fort Mohave, the Mohave Valley Daily News reported.
“What a gift, right? It’s there for the game, gets taken out the night of and trucks start coming our way,” said Matt Hanrahan, board chairman of the local Boys & Girls Clubs and a coordinator of the installation project.
Fiesta Bowl Charities, the philanthropic arm of the nonprofit Fiesta Bowl organization that oversees both the Fiesta Bowl and the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, each year donates a field — 80,000 square feet (7,432 square meters) of sod — to a worthy recipient.
“We have this beautiful turf that we bring in to transform Chase Field’s baseball diamond into a football field. Rather than just tossing it, we recycle it and donate to somebody in need,” said Jose Moreno, the Fiesta Bowl’s chief marketing officer.
Two convoys of flatbed trucks drove 240 miles (386 kilometers) to deliver half of the 80,000-square-foot (7,432-square-meter) playing surface Wednesday night and Thursday.
The remaining truckloads of sod are expected to be delivered to the previously undeveloped 8-acre (3-hectare) site early this week.
Community volunteers, including dozens of athletes from River Valley High School, on Thursday began laying down small pieces of the turf side-by-side. The pieces were cut from 600-pound (272-kilograms) rolls of sod.
It’s the second field that Fiesta Bowl Charities has sent to the Bullhead City area.
After the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl, the turf from Chase Field was trucked to Bullhead City, where it was installed at Firebird Field — now Fiesta Bowl Field — in Rotary Park.
“They were very impressed with how the entire community came out to support the project,” said Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Autumn Boyle-Robinson.
The Bullhead City field remains part of the city’s park inventory. It’s used for youth football and soccer, and a school uses it as one of its home fields for football.
“It’s just great that they’ve awarded a field to two places in our area,” Hanrahan said.
The sod donated for the Fort Mohave facility will be used not only by Boys & Girls Clubs members but likely by area youth teams in a variety of sports.
“We want the Boys & Girls Clubs to be part of the community and that field will serve that purpose,” Hanrahan said.