ALTOONA - Strong legs run so that weak legs can walk.
For 39 years, the catchy slogan has been the centerpiece for the Iowa Shrine All-Star Game, a summer football clash that pits many of the best players in the state against one another in an effort to raise funds for the network of Shriners Hospitals for Children throughout North America.
And this summer's game will feature one local player.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior Jonny Davis (4) sets to throw a pass as West Delaware’s Travis Meisgeier tracks him down during a Class 3A state playoffs second-round game inside the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls last October. Davis has been chosen as one of 92 players from across the state to take part in the 2012 Iowa Shrine All-Star Game, set to take place on Saturday, July 21 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior Jonny Davis (center) and his dad, Mark (left), meet with 2012 Iowa Shrine All-Star Game North Squad head coach Don Anderson of North Iowa of Buffalo Center on Monday during the All-Star Media Day at the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Center in Altoona. Jonny Davis is just the 13th Webster City football player to ever be selected to participate in the Shrine Bowl, which first began in 1973.
Webster City senior Jonny Davis was handpicked from the cast of hundreds to take part in the 2012 contest, which is tentatively scheduled to take place at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.m.
Davis will be one of 46 players on the North Squad, which will be coached by Don Anderson of North Iowa of Buffalo Center.
"It's a big honor and I was shocked when I was informed by (Webster City) coach (Bob) Howard," Davis said. "I didn't expect it and it's just exciting."
Shrine Bowl Notes
MOVING? MAYBE: The 2012 Iowa Shrine All-Star Game is currently scheduled to take place at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, but the venue may need to be changed due to a new NCAA rule that stipulates the games cannot be played on the campuses of Division I colleges and universities. Currently the Shrine organization is appealing the decision to the NCAA.
NCC FLAVOR: Two other players from the North Central Conference were also selected to participate. Michael Erpelding of Algona and Derek Bradley of Iowa Falls-Alden will join Webster City's Jonny Davis on the North Squad.
Alongside his father, Mark, Davis and a slew of his future teammates and adversaries, as well as some of the cheerleaders that were picked for the All-Star Game, were on hand Monday for the All-Star Media Day at the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Center.
Davis was able to meet his future head coach, as well as two of the assistants coaches, Brent Thoren of North Tama and Scott Auderer of Gilbert, while learning about what to expect during his week in Ames.
"It's going to be a great week," Anderson said to the spectators at Monday's Media Day. "You're going to laugh, you're going to smile and you're going to cry."
Brian Albert of Glenwood will serve as the head coach of the South Squad. He played in the first Shrine Bowl in Iowa City in 1973.
Howard served as a Shrine Bowl head coach in 2000, and twice he was an assistant for the South Squad. He says Davis' addition to the game is well deserved.
"It's a neat honor and it will be a great experience for Jonny," Howard said. "It's a great reward for a great high school career."
In addition to the game and the various activities planned for the week, Davis and his teammates will get the chance to meet and work with a group of children from the Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis, and Howard says that's when the experience will really hit home.
"For the players, first of all it's a humbling experience," he said. "I've seen kids that were pretty hard and calloused when they got there, but when they get paired up with kids and five minutes after they meet some little gal who has health problems, or who was burned, or who was born with a birth defect, that kind of changes their idea about the purpose of the Shrine Bowl."
It's an experience that Davis is looking forward to.
"It should be a lot of fun to hang with the kids from the hospital, and then to meet all of the other players will be fun, too," he said.
Davis is just the 13th player from Webster City ever selected to take part in the Shrine Bowl, and the first since Jake Loffredo in 2008. A spinback and defensive back for the Lynx, Davis became the first player in program history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season this past fall, as he helped guide the team to a 9-2 record and spot in the Class 3A state playoffs second round.
Davis was a two-time unanimous all-district selection on the gridiron. He also claimed three first-team all-North Central Conference honors on the basketball floor.
All profits from the game are distributed to the Shriners Hospitals, which include 18 orthopedic centers, three burn units and one that treats all types of needs around the nation.
The 2011 Shrine Bowl generated $60,000 for the hospitals.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets to the game can contact the Davis family.