Vaught's Views: Spigle has experience kicking in big stadium

August 19, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Kicking a field goal at Admiral Stadium might be an intimidating thought for many of us, but it shouldn't bother Danville's Wendell Spigle.

He's one of five contestants who will have a chance to win $1,000 in the Bob Allen Pigskin Classic Kick for Cash Saturday after having his name drawn last week.

Each contestant will have a chance to kick a 15-yard field at halftime of the Garrard County-Dunbar game. Making that kick will be worth $100 and will qualify the participant to try a 35-yard field goal at halftime of the Danville-Manual game. If only one person makes the 35-yard kick, the $1,000 will be all his. If two or more kickers connect from 35 yards, the $1,000 will be split among those making the kick.

Spigle, 47, got a chance to kick in the Seattle Kingdome about 15 years ago when he was working for Holiday Inn.


"I was at a meeting there and was just messing around in the Kingdome kicking the ball," Spigle said. "We had a competition where everyone did different things and I got to kick a ball. I made about a 25-yard field goal."

Add 10 more yards this Saturday and Spigle can win $1,000.

"First, that was a long time ago," Spigle said. "I haven't even kicked a ball in about six years now."

The Kingdome, the former home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, also had only about 1,000 people present when a younger Spigle made his kick. Saturday he's likely to have 6,000 fans watching him try to split the uprights.

"I probably need about three months to get ready, not a week," Spigle said. "Fortunately, I'm just a straight-ahead kicker. There's nothing fancy about my kicking. Who knows what I might do? I might make it or just squib it off to the side. But it should be fun trying."

That feeling is shared by George Young, 48. He did some placekicking when he went to Boyle County High School and seems confident he can not only win the $100, but that he can also hit the 35-yard kick. Of course, maybe he's taking inspiration from what former Lincoln County kicker Daniel Renner did in 2002 when he hit a 35-yard field goal that was worth $5,000.

"I don't know how good I am now, but I've got time to practice and get ready," Young said. "I don't think I should have any trouble making the kick. Or at least I hope not."

Another Kick for Cash participant is not quite that optimistic. Edwin Findley is the circulation director at The Advocate-Messenger. He's also a fixture on the sidelines during football season taking pictures for this newspaper. But Saturday it will be his turn to showcase his talent - or lack of it.

He's going to get plenty of conditioning work and kicking tips this week from co-workers Brenda Townes, Michelle Smothers and Lori Yankey.

"I'm sure I'll be working on my footwork since I've never been a kicker and probably never will be," Findley said. "But I guarantee I will be out there."

Actually, he can make one other guarantee, too. As part of a special promotion by The Advocate-Messenger, Findley will be giving away Sam Harp bobblehead posters after the game. Since the Danville coach recently celebrated his 50th birthday, these vintage posters could become a collector's item along with posters Findley will be giving out at other area games in the weeks ahead.

One person who probably would like to have a Sam Harp bobblehead poster is Danville's Rodney Hampton, 45. He's the first alternate in the contest and should get some expert help this week considering his son, Zack, is Danville's placekicker.

"I used to punt for Danville, but I never did any placekicking," Rodney Hampton said. "I played on one of the first teams to play in Admiral Stadium and it will be a thrill to go out there and kick. I think I can make the 15-yard kick, but I'm not sure about the 35-yard kick. Hopefully, Zack can coach me this week."

The other two contestants eligible for the kick are James Brand and Billy Morton, both of Danville.

Tom Leach, play-by-play voice of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, will introduce each contestant. Judges for the contest will be Missy Rocco of Pepsi and Mike Swain - with some friendly input from Bob Allen.

"I hope somebody makes the kick again," Allen said. "We want this to be fun and there's no more fun, at least for everybody else, than watching somebody make a kick for a lot of money."

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