Story by Jason Strickland, Sports Editor — The Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity at UCM rekindled a tradition from the 1980s this week.
They are carrying a football 140 miles from Warrensburg to Pittsburg, Kan.
The fraternity’s vice president, senior Austin Strother, said a fellow member discovered the tradition in a yearbook. The group decided to rekindle it and call it the PigSkin Passoff.
Strother said the fraternity would carry a football to one of the Mules’ road games in the early 1980s to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.
This week, an 11-man rotation is traveling on foot to Carnie Smith Stadium, the home of Pittsburg State Gorilla football, to raise money for Cystic Fybrosis.
The life-threatening disorder is AKL’s national philanthropy. It causes mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, which causes lung infections and digestive problems.
National Guardsmen Jordan Chipley and Joseph Deanda began the journey on the 50-yard line at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field Monday at 8 a.m., and made it about 43 miles with just one meal break.
“We are both in the Army, so we do distance runs a lot, so we are always prepared,” Deanda said. “We didn’t actually go all out on it, we kind of jogged it and walked it.”
“We were challenged a little bit. We are always challenged,” he added. “I guess it was kind of a little piece of cake for us. It was something that we knew we can do good in.”
Groups of two or three will take turns carrying the football until they are about five to 10 miles from the stadium on Friday.
All 27 members of the fraternity will participate Saturday to finish the trip.
The second pair to go was Nolan Gilley and Alek McLaughlin.
They traveled nearly 25 miles on Tuesday, but they had to backtrack two miles after a wrong turn, so only 21 miles counted toward the trip.
Strother is doing his part of the journey Thursday. He said after a group is done with its part, the fraternity discusses how the trip went, what the next group should expect to experience, what supplies were good to have and what would be good to add to the supplies list.
The goal is to raise $5,000, but Strother said he expects to exceed that easily.
“We are very optimistic that we are going to surpass that just by the support that we have gotten so far,” Strother said. “We are taking donations throughout the whole week. Our members have hit up family members and friends, but we are also doing businesses. And the businesses have given us a lot of positive feedback on it.”
To donate, you may contact philanthropy chairman Al Lagunas at firstname.lastname@example.org.