Road trip to Missouri showcases faith and values of Ricks athletes

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Faith was the moving force behind Idaho's "top team," according to a Missouri newspaper article, indicating that this was not your ordinary out-of-town game for the Ricks College football team and cheerleading squad.

They had goals in addition to sports and accomplished as much good off the field as on. "[Their schedule] began before dawn Friday [Nov. 12], about 5:30 a.m., with visits to early-morning seminary classes in three of our Kansas City stakes," said Independence Missouri Stake Pres. Kent Woods. "The youth in our area were able to enjoy the Ricks students' spirit and testimony."

Immediately following seminary, the Ricks students toured historical sites and even enjoyed the feel of the turf at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. The day was full as they visited with local dignitaries and participated in a Friday evening fireside at the Independence stake center. Six area stakes were invited, and members were encouraged to bring non-member friends.

John Tait, Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman, spoke at the fireside. He shared his personal experience with a recruiter's question of "How Mormon is this Mormon boy?" and on "putting out the little fires in your life."

Missouri State Sen. Bill Kenny and Elder Kay Christensen, Area Authority Seventy, shared their thoughts, and the evening concluded with the entire Ricks football team singing "Families Can Be Together Forever."

Saturday began with a Ricks alumni tailgating party, the Ricks football game against Kemper Military Academy, a visit to Liberty Jail Historic Site, and a barbecue dinner for members and non-members at the Independence stake center that evening.

Bill Althaus, sports writer for the Independence Examiner, wrote: "In this age of pampered athletes who find various ways to get around their wrongdoings, meet Ron Haun and members of his Ricks College football team. . . . Every player signs an agreement to abstain from drinking, smoking and any kind of immoral conduct. They often cut practice short so players can participate in the choir, and they have a strong belief in family values and Christianity."

Winning the game 45-26 was not Ricks College's only success in Missouri. It was the students' good example, their faith and their performance as true Christians, observed admiring fans.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed