The Great Alaska Shootout is back for its 34th anniversary, with 16 games of intense court action. These 16 games mean a minimum of 16 halftime slots to fill, and associate Athletics Director Tim McDiffett. With his volunteer Shootout committee, have been looking for acts to fill those gaps in action.
However, McDiffett, his committee, and Shootout fans alike are in luck. An 18-year partnership with local high schools fills up six of those half-time slots.
“It’s been a great program for us; it’s a relationship with the high schools,” said McDiffett. “We also have a program that includes their ability to be interns for sports medicine and sports information, so it’s been a great relationship.”
The Adopt-A-University program pairs Shootout teams with local high schools. This partnership offers benefits to both sides, one of those perks is that the high schools contribute half-time performances. Each high school is allotted half of the first half-time in which their adopted university plays. For instance, the first game of the Shootout features the Central Michigan and South Florida women’s teams; during halftime, their adoptive high schools (Eagle River and Chugiak High, respectively) will split the half-time performance slot for that game. That is the only game in which those two schools perform for halftime.
Most of the schools are having either their bands or their cheerleading squads perform. Colony High, (paired with the UAA men’s team) is sending a dance team to perform during the UAA and Murray State game on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Service High, (paired with the Dartmouth University men’s team) is already confirmed to send their cheerleading squad to perform during the Dartmouth and San Francisco game, also on the 23rd.
“They’re doing the song ‘Boom, Boom, Pow’ by the Black Eyed Peas,” said Tasarla Shaw, Service High’s cheerleading coach.
In addition to half-time entertainment, high schools offer their adopted teams practice space in their school gym, as well as cheering for and/or providing their bands for the teams at games through the Adopt-A-University program.
The other 10 games will showcase a variety of half-time entertainment. From the Alaskanette Baton and Show Corps, and Arctic Gymnastics performance groups (who have entertained at Shootouts passed), to promotions such as the annual $1,000,000 Shot, and the Alaska Airlines Bump Contest, as well as many others.
“AT&T has sponsored an Office Hoops Challenge. Basically, people are in a rolling office chair that you’d find in any office, and shooting Nerf basketballs at a Nerf hoop sliding around,” said McDiffett.
Whether it is local high school pep bands, competitive cheerleading performances, dance routines, or company-sponsored competitions, Shootout aims to provide quality entertainment for spectators. But through that aim, it also gives local high school students the opportunity to be part of one of the largest sporting events in Alaska. Even if they aren’t necessarily rooting for the home team.