Jenks-Union Game Now MidFirst Backyard Bowl

The annual high-school football rivalry between Jenks and Union is now officially the MidFirst Backyard Bowl, bank and school officials announced.
Although this is the fourth year that MidFirst has sponsored the game, “this is the first time we have put the MidFirst name in front of the Backyard Bowl,” said Ed Fariss, senior vice president and manager of commercial banking at MidFirst Bank, Tulsa.
“It’s just a natural extension of the bank’s attempt to be involved in the community,” he said.
This year’s MidFirst Backyard Bowl will be 7:30 p.m., Sept. 7, at the University of Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium.
“The Jenks and Union football game is a long-standing tradition raised in the backyards of south Tulsa, and we are fortunate to have the Oklahoma-based MidFirst Bank sponsor our annual game,” Steve Dunlap, Union athletic director, said.
Tony Dillingham, athletic director for Jenks, said, “Our players, students, parents and entire school are grateful to MidFirst Bank for its ongoing support of our schools.”
Both teams benefit not only from the spirit of competition, but financially and academically. As the presenting sponsor, MidFirst contributes 50 cents for every ticket sold to the schools’ academic budgets, up to a maximum of 40,000 game-goers. The contribution is divided evenly.
Last year, paid attendance was about 20,000.
National interest in the storied match-up may provide MidFirst a marketing touchdown.
The rivalry, which has been featured in USA Today and Sports Illustrated, may be the subject of a one-hour documentary for the cable network, Versus. NFL Films has presented the idea to both school districts.
“The thing we are most pleased about is that this sponsorship has taken on an even bigger life,” said Mack Vanderlip, MidFirst marketing manager. “It has gotten a lot of national recognition. It has become a role model of what a really good high school rivalry should be in sportsmanship and academics.”
Oklahoma City-based MidFirst is Oklahoma’s second largest bank and the third-largest privately owned bank in the nation. With 49 banking centers in Oklahoma, including nine in the Tulsa area, and 1,500 employees, how do you keep the staff from taking sides?
“The same way we let them vote Democratic or Republican,” Fariss joked. “That’s up to them. We encourage them to be at the game and whatever side they want to sit on, that’s fine.” ?

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