Small schools in Nye County have a hard time raising money for the athletic department and Pahrump Valley High School is no different than any other school in Nye County, despite being the largest high school in the district. The PVT asked Trojans Athletic Director Ed Kirkwood about the difficulties of raising money for athletics in Pahrump and the direction the athletic department is headed.
Q: Are you having similar problems in raising money like Beatty and Tonopah?
A: We are fortunate here in Pahrump. We have so many businesses that have gotten on board with our fundraising efforts. They buy banners and signs for the football field and gym. We have a booster club that puts all their efforts into raising monies for the entire athletic program. They do a local business discount card in the fall, concession stands at every home event and they are bringing back the quarter auction next year after a few year’s absence.
Q: What do you see the teams doing this year as far as fundraisers?
A: The athletic department will be selling “Trojan Nation” window decals this fall. Individual teams will be doing fundraising ranging from car washes, summer camps, spaghetti dinners, chili cook- offs and the like. Items such as hats, spirit towels, shirts, hoodies, blankets and megaphones are also up for sale to bring in much needed monies. You have to be creative. People and business are constantly getting hit to donate/sponsor from the schools to the little league sports. We don’t want our kids going door-to-door selling candy nowadays, so your imagination has to be open to new ideas. Parents are always getting asked to pony up in one way or another. It becomes overwhelming.
Q: What do you see as some of the successful ways the school has raised money for athletics?
A: The discount card is big here. We do very well with that. We of course have all our gate fees for home games. We take a lot of heat because we charge for all the sports. The soccer, baseball and softball crowds weren’t very happy about that, because Clark County does not have gates in those sports. They are funded differently than Nye County and can get away with that. We need every penny to help keep up with uniform replacement and team supplies. Our teachers who volunteered to work the gates had to hear it from our fans and the Las Vegas crowd all year. We have come up with some ways to help ease the pain with sport passes that will be discounted between 30-50 percent to help those families. They can be purchased per season, per sport or per year.
We will see how they do in the fall.
Q: What are some of high school’s biggest needs in the athletic department?
A: Some of our greatest needs are rather big ticket items. We need to look at replacing the pole vault, high jump pits and standards soon; the track needs some work; we want to always work to improve our baseball and softball facilities which is currently underway, with the help of many parents and the maintenance department.
Maintaining our practice fields and marching band area is ongoing. The gym is getting a face-lift this summer with a new paint job, and our championship banner system is being updated. The floor is the next big item. Our new logo needs to be put on center court and the floor sanded down and re-lined.
Q: Uniforms seem to be a problem with the smaller schools like Beatty and Tonopah. How does Pahrump do uniforms?
A: I have the teams on a rotating schedule. We will try to get four full seasons from our uniforms before we replace them.
It’s up to the kids and the coaches to make sure they collect all of them and inventory them each season. If they are missing any, the student gets charged for them. Our coaches do a pretty good job of making sure everything gets turned in.
I will not replace any until it’s their turn in the rotation, so they have to be diligent. For the 2015 and 2016 school year, the volleyball team and the basketball teams are due for new uniforms. In 2016 and 2017, we will have baseball and softball getting them and in 2017 and 2018 we will have the soccer, wrestling and track programs going.
Q: What are some of the small things that must be paid for every year?
A: We will have to replace some of the helmets and shoulder pads. They get re-conditioned every year and some come back without the ‘stamp of approval’. Either they are too old or just not deemed safe for the kids.
Q: What are some challenges about athletic funding?
A: Athletic funding is always in a state of change. You receive some funding from the district, but you have to find a way to raise the rest. Booster clubs are great, if you get people involved. It can’t be the same person doing everything all year. Our new president Cindy Colucci is a hard worker and needs people to volunteer some time and energy to help their kids. People burn out in the position if they have to do it all. They quit and then we are in trouble. It is about the kids!
She is looking for junior varsity parents to work varsity games and varsity parents to work JV games, that way they can still see their kids play and help out. We have great participation from our students. If they aren’t playing, they come out and support their friends.
Our parents are also wonderful. We ‘travel’ the best of any school in southern Nevada. Clark County stopped accepting our passes a few years ago, because they were losing their best gate of the season when Pahrump came to town.