BYU, Utah ROTC cadets set to resume game-ball run tradition

BYU, Utah ROTC cadets set to resume game-ball run tradition (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) With the revival of the BYU-Utah regular season rivalry game, some old traditions are now coming back.

One of those traditions covers a large distance and a lot of miles.

The game-ball run involves cadets from the BYU and University of Utah Army ROTC programs running from one team’s stadium to another, carrying a football.

This year’s run will start at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. BYU Cadets Kal Holyoak and Chase Dowse are among the 18 from their school who will take part.

They say they’re ready for it.

“We're out running three times a week minimum,” Dowse said.

“It’s time to shine,” added Holyoak.

The game-ball run dates back decades. Maj. Ben Ashton, who supervises BYU’s ROTC program, ran it himself in 2001 –- but not as a Cougar.

“I was a U of U cadet,” he said. “I’m a BYU fan now.”

Ashton said the event is beneficial for both sides.

“It builds camaraderie between the universities,” he said.

When the begins, the Cougar cadets will take turns running. One will carry the ROTC flag while the other will carry the football.

“It’s a fun team-building event,” Ashton said.

The Cougars will pass the ball off to the University of Utah cadets at the Point of the Mountain around 11:00 a.m. Saturday. The Utes will run it the rest of the way to Rice Eccles Stadium.

“We’re excited to bring it home,” said Cadet Kristen Hansmann, who is leading the Ute ROTC squad. “We’re going to enter the south side of the stadium and then run on into the 50-yard line -- bring it right on in for kickoff.”

But when that happens, you won't just see red on the field. Both sides will carry that game ball in together.

“At the end of the day we're all Army, we're all fighting the same thing,” said Hansmann, “so it's good that we can come together and forget about that.”

The Cougars and Utes kick off Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MDT at Rice Eccles Stadium.

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