Pike on the Carry: The Kennedy Gameball Run Makes a Return for 2019 Holy War

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Pike on the Carry: The Kennedy Gameball Run Makes a Return for 2019 Holy War

Riley Elliot and Co. outside BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium (Courtesy Riley Elliot)

Riley Elliot and Co. outside BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium (Courtesy Riley Elliot)

Riley Elliott

Riley Elliot and Co. outside BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium (Courtesy Riley Elliot)

Riley Elliott

Riley Elliott

Riley Elliot and Co. outside BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium (Courtesy Riley Elliot)

By Casey Overfield

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Football.  Pep rallies.  Lecture halls. Greek life. These are just some words that may come to mind when you think of college. 

Here at the University of Utah, there are 18 fraternities and sororities on campus. Each one has a rich history of tradition dating back many years.  

The Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) fraternity was founded in 1868 at the University of Virginia, and the U of U chapter started in 1912. 

One of the fun traditions that exists among the 100+ members is one that takes place before the annual Holy War game against BYU. Members of the fraternity come together to run a football over 40 miles from Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City to LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. 

The event, which is typically an annual event, is returning after a one year hiatus due to the timing and weather surrounding last year’s game at Rice Eccles Stadium. 

This year will mark the 27th annual Kevin B. Kennedy Gameball Run Fundraiser, named after a past president of the fraternity who lost his battle with cancer.  The Kennedy family is extremely supportive of the event and is currently the largest sponsor of the run.

This event takes over eight hours to complete and each member takes turns running with the ball as decorated trucks, bikes and a UHaul truck follow closely.  

Riley Elliott is the President of the fraternity and he has been a member since 2016.  He has participated in the Gameball Run twice during his time at the U.

“Once we get on the road, most everybody in the fraternity is in the back of the UHaul and we just take turns jumping and running out to take the ball.  We are going like five miles per hour so we can switch between cars and just have a good time,” Elliott said. “It’s always a good time because rolling up on BYU in front of all of their fans when we get there, there’s nothing like it.”

Although the event is fun and is a good way for members to bond, there is another motivation behind this activity.  In preparation for the run, the fraternity raises money through sponsorships. With a fundraising goal of $5,000, at the time of the interview, they had raised $4,650. 

This money is donated to provide scholarships for children to attend Camp Hobé. Camp Hobé is a summer camp that allows children who are going through cancer treatment to have a fun camp experience with their siblings.  

Pike has been supporting the camp since 1997, and each summer the fraternity visits the camp in Tooele, and they spend the day hanging out and playing with the kids.  

“It’s definitely a humbling experience appreciating everything I have and appreciating what I can give back,” said fourth year Jeff Timothy, who is the external Vice President of the fraternity.  “We really try to give back as much as we can because it is really a great feeling to be able to see the outcomes of what we can do for not ourselves. To be able to see the kids and see how happy they are makes you see the importance in doing things for others. 

This event is not only important as a bonding experience for current members, it also allows the community and alumni to give back to something bigger than themselves.  The charity aspect of this run is crucial to its success and makes the payoff all the better for those who participate and run with the ball. 

Elliott has been working with the executive board to plan this event since May, and fraternity members began reaching out to possible donors in June.  Donors include local businesses, family members and fraternity alumni.  

“I haven’t seen what the Gameball Run is, I’ve only seen what Camp Hobé is and it’s a really cool summer camp and the kids love when you are there and seeing that end goal is really cool,” Kyler Banks said, who joined the fraternity in the spring of 2019 and is currently the Recruitment Chair. “I’m really excited because from what I’ve seen, the event is really awesome. I’m really stoked and excited to see how it is going to turn out.” 

The run will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, which is just less than a week away from the game, which is being held at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on the 29th of the month. 

“We are happy to be doing this again, and we are happy to do philanthropy for Camp Hobé again and to continue to support them and have a good time doing it,” Elliott said.

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@CaseyOverfield