Oil Bowl adding volleyball to all-star festivities in 2019

Jonathan Hull
Wichita Falls Times Record News
Published June 16, 2018

Another sport is being added to the Oil Bowl’s all-star festivities next year.

Volleyball will make its Oil Bowl debut in 2019 as the Maskat Shrine continues to further its commitment to featuring the top athletes in the Wichita Falls area.

“From Day 1, my goal with this event was always to expand it,” Oil Bowl chairman Yoshi Fukasawa said. “We saw such an amazing success with basketball (Friday night) that we wanted to grow it even further. Now we have one more sport to showcase local athletes.”

Basketball hadn’t been featured with the Oil Bowl since 2005. It’s estimated that more than 800 fans showed up for the boys and girls all-star games at Rider Fieldhouse Friday night. The Oil Bowl printed 500 tickets for the game, but ran out of those tickets before the girls game tipped off at 6 p.m.

“It was immeasurably beyond our expectations,” Fukasawa said. “We knew we’d get immediate family at the game, but to be sold out of tickets so early was unexpected. I was in awe. I’m so thankful Wichita Falls and the surrounding communities came out to support Shriners’ hospitals and our local athletes.

“As a long term goal, we’d like to showcase as many sports as possible. We had an amazing time with that basketball game. The entire nobility at Maskat Shrine are excited as could be.”

It was the success of the basketball games that inspired the Shriners to add volleyball to the 2019 slate. The game has been tentatively set for the Saturday afternoon before the Oil Bowl football game Saturday night next year.

“Now we have two boys sports and two girls sports, evening it out,” Fukasawa said. “Fans can watch basketball Friday night, then volleyball early Saturday and football Saturday night. It should be a great weekend of sports in the area.”

The volleyball rosters will be handled very similarly to the basketball rosters with the goal being to create two evenly matched teams.

Fukasawa didn’t commit either way to whether or not the Oil Bowl was done adding sports in future years.

“We’ll play it by ear,” Fukasawa said. “In the perfect world, we could showcase every sport that every athlete in the Wichita Falls area played, but there are some logistical difficulties trying to do that. We’re committed to the continual growth of the Oil Bowl and promotion of local athletes.”