After a somewhat rocky season, the 53rd annual Dirt Bowl ends strong

The Dirt Bowl was sadly in the news this year but for a terrible reason.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 10:58 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Dirt Bowl was sadly in the news this year but for a terrible reason. A shooting that put a damper on the tournament and caused it to take a break for a week.

But it hasn’t stopped the community from coming together.

Shawnee Park looked a little different this Super Sunday.

Sunday was the final day of the 53rd annual Dirt Bowl.

For better or worse, this year’s tournament will be remembered for the shooting that happened here on July 10th. But despite that, they’ve been able to move forward and even be excited for the future.

Before the start of the game, over 50 vendors made their way to the park for the community to enjoy.

“It’s been a really good day. It’s almost exceeded our expectations a little bit because we didn’t know what to expect. We’re good. We’re looking forward to doing more things like this in West Louisville,” said Dirt Bowl co-organizer Ravon Churchill.

It’s a new event called “Rise Shawnee.” There was something there for the whole family.

Free food, ice cream, and video games for the kids, but also services meant to help anyone who needs them.

“There’s housing, education, mental and physical health resources, there’s financial literacy resources,” Churchill said.

They had more vendors than ever before, which Churchill says made it the biggest event they’ve ever had at Shawnee Park.

And this all comes after the shooting that happened at the park.

“The amount of support has well exceeded the negativity that we’ve had. We have vendors that are down here that said, ‘we want to come down here just to show support,’” Churchill said.

After the fair, was the championship game.

20 teams, over 200 players, and two months’ worth of games led to two neighborhood rivals squaring off on the court.

Newburg vs. the East End.

“Two of our most historic programs that we have. Actually, these two teams have the most championships in Dirt Bowl history between the two.”

UofL coaches Kenny Payne and Scott Satterfield and even Darrell Griffith came down to watch the game. It was a close one, but Newburg outlasted the East End by a score of 39 to 37.

For Churchill, the entire day was a huge success.

“This is what West Louisville is all about. What the Dirt Bowl is about. What Shawnee Park is about. The Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Goodwill Industries. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we do,” Churchill said.

Churchill said the event was a testament to what the Dirt Bowl can be, and people should expect big things moving forward.

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