ST. LOUIS – Tanner Matlick and Zach Nelson, students at Mercer County High School, along with Nat Zunkel, a coach at Mercer County High School have been selected to play in the 2013 Illinois High School Shrine All-Star Football game, an event inviting the state’s 80 best athletes to compete against each other while raising funds and awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children®. This year, Illinois Wesleyan University will host the 39th annual Shrine Game on Saturday, July 13, at Tucci Stadium.
The game began in 1975 when the Bloomington Shrine Club and the Illinois Coaches Association (ICA) joined forces to hold an all-star football game to help advance the mission of Shriners International, a fraternity committed to providing care to children and families in need. This year, the ICA and the five Illinois chapters of Shriners International, including the Mohammed Shriners of Peoria, Illinois, are working hard to create an event that brings together players, families, coaches, children, and the community.
The weeklong event will give players the opportunity to connect with the cause on a more personal level. Matlick, Nelson, and Zunkel will visit the hospitals’ Chicago location, meeting patients and hearing their stories. Game week also includes a formal banquet for the players and their families, a BBQ with the Shriners, and a parade in the community before kickoff at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Shriners Hospitals for Children®, the official philanthropy of Shriners International, is a pediatric health care system providing specialty care in a family-centered environment regardless of the patients’ ability to pay. The hospitals serving Illinois are located in Chicago and St. Louis.