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Service Bowl rivalry is an opportunity to foster community

Posted at 8:38 AM, Oct 11, 2023

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The cross-town football rivalry in Twin Falls has a unique spin, as players and students shift the focus away from the game.

This Thursday, the Bruins and the River Hawks will meet on the gridiron for the annual Service Bowl. But what began as bragging rights between the two schools has become an opportunity to serve the community.

"Originally, the service bowl week was mainly about the rivalry between the two schools,” Noah Kauffman, a junior at Canyon Ridge, told Idaho News 6. “Now it's evolved more into showing our support for the first responders and veterans."

Each of the five days of this week, students will pay a visit to a different organization to deliver donuts and handmade posters of thanks, signed by the student body. By week’s end, they will have made visits to the Twin Falls Police Department, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Service, Frontier Pediatrics, St. Luke's, and Paramedics.

Student body president Krason Homolka said this will be his first time playing in the Service Bowl. For players and the schools, the game is still a big deal. But Homolka said that putting the focus on first responders is a good way to build the community.

"These people do so much for our community, even if we don't see it,“ Homolka told Idaho News 6. “The police department keeping us safe, the fire department making sure nothing bad happens to us, paramedics taking care of us, St. Luke's always being there. [Service Bowl] is really just to thank these people, and I think that's what makes this really important.”

Among the many veterans and active-duty military who attended a Tuesday morning brunch, several – like former Coast Guard hospital corpsman Neil Harpster - were glad to have a chance to get to know the high schoolers.

"It's nice to interface with the high school aged young people,” says Harpster. “They're very responsive. It's great to talk to them about college and their futures, and what they would like to do. And it gives me an opportunity to try and encourage their future."

Game kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. Thursday night at Twin Falls High School.