Pride of Cove boosters prep for busy fundraising season

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

The Pride of Cove Band Boosters were busy on Saturday morning at Bulldawg Stadium preparing for the thousands of customers they will serve throughout the fall sports season. 
Among them are parents of band students and even alumni parents who don’t currently have a student in band but remain diehard backers of fundraising for the kids. 
Montie Bowen is president of the booster club and was there with a lineup of volunteers who kept busy cleaning refrigerators and coolers and getting the work spaces ready. 
“This is the final cleanup in preparation for concessions opening. Friday’s the first varsity game, Thursday’s the first junior varsity,” Bowen said. “We do every game – JV, freshmen, junior high.”
The concessions will be up and running at tonight’s varsity game, with the usual fare of hamburgers, hot dogs and Frito pie, along with the return of French fries, something that was new on last year’s menu. 
New for this year, Bowen said, is chicken fingers and Raising Cane’s lemonade, with Raising Cane’s being the boosters’ brand-new corporate sponsor. He added that Shaun Smith, the Copperas Cove Raising Cane’s manager, is a former member of the Pride of Cove Band and that the company approached the boosters to help sponsor. 
“That’s helping us out a lot. They actually supplied meals for one of the days for summer band.” 
This year, the boosters are rolling out new grills thanks to help from Lowe’s and the local VFW Post 8577.
Bowen said they are hoping to gain more sponsors and one of their goals is to purchase equipment trailers. Presently, he said the boosters rent trailers and pay for it from their budget, but when they own trailers, they plan to put sponsors’ names on the sides. 
“We travel from san Antonio to Dallas, so we’d be roving billboards,” Bowen said.
He admits that sometimes it’s not easy to get volunteers but maybe it’s a misunderstanding because people might think concessions stand work is hard, but he said it’s not. He also said the concessions stand is the group’s largest fundraiser for the year. 
One of the volunteers on Saturday was Darcy Ramos, an alumni parent who doesn’t have a student in the band right now, but still volunteers and has done so for six years. 
“I have a student in junior high, so she’ll be coming up soon,” Ramos said. 
Diana Alvarez is a member of the Pride of Cove Band and is a senior who plays the flute. 
“I think it’s wonderful that they’re spending their time to help us,” Alvarez said of the parents and other volunteers. Alvarez has been in the band each year and said she enjoys meeting new friends as part of being in band. 
Bowen said that in the end, it’s all about supporting the students – around 200 total who march and play in the band or perform with the color guard. This year is a state year, so the kids will be on the road every Saturday in October. 
The band has a limited budget, so he sees the boosters’ role as vital in many areas. For example, they supplement the food costs for the trips the band makes, to include accompanying varsity football to away games along with traveling to the band’s own competitions. 
“We help supplement the food cost for the trips, for the kids in the program, plus staff and chaperones.” He added that the boosters also hold events for the students throughout the year, like a pool party to wrap up the start of band season, as well as parties for Christmas and Halloween. 
“This gives the kids a breather that’s not band, and it also gets them together, and builds the team.”
In the spring, the boosters hold the annual band banquet to recognize students and award scholarships, this year as much as $9,000. For every year that’s not a state competition year, the band usually goes on a trip and the boosters are right there to help lower the costs for the students, from more than $1,000 to go to Florida, to only $604.
The band is also gearing up for Spirit Spectacular on Thursday, September 13. The boosters are selling shirts through September 4 with the theme of this year’s halftime show, music from “Carmen.” Their website is prideofcovebooster.org. 

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