Rock Bridge girls basketball's chili supper a sweet event

Friday, December 18, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST
Rock Bridge High School seniors Katie Seyer, right, and Beau Reske join Bruins girls basketball team captain Amaya Williams for their meals Thursday night at the girls basketball team's chili supper

COLUMBIA — A dollar seems like a good deal for a cake. Especially if it's a mouth-watering homemade German chocolate one baked by the girls basketball coach.

Rock Bridge students, families and faculty members paid five dollars each for a ticket for the Rock Bridge girls basketball team's annual chili supper fundraiser on Thursday night before the boys basketball team's game against rival Hickman. In addition to serving more than 60 pounds of chili, the team provided lemonade, peanut butter sandwiches, carrots, celery and broccoli as well as chocolate chip cookies, brownies and other homemade desserts. 

There was also that cake.

Beginning last year, a cake raffle was added to the fundraiser. Girls players sold one dollar raffle tickets for a chance to win the cake baked by coach Jill Nagel. Senior captain and point guard Amaya Williams said Nagel baked a few practice cakes last week before she made the final one for the raffle.

"It's kind of a good draw that our head coach is making a cake," Williams said. "... She had a trial run yesterday, and she didn't let me try it, and I'm not happy about it, but it's supposed to be really good. She made it last year, and that was our first year doing it, and apparently it's better this year."

According to Nagel, the chili supper and raffle's profits go to whatever the team most needs.

"The money goes right back to Rock Bridge girls basketball," she said. "A lot of it is to help with charter bus trips we have, and we bought new reversible practice jerseys this year, so it will also help pay for those."

This year, the Bruins will have to travel to play teams in St. Louis five times as well as teams in Kansas City and Platte County. Chili Supper co-chair Helen Anthony, mother of sophomore forward Laura Jursek, said last year, the chili supper raised more than $2,000, most of which went toward traveling. She said this year they are on track to raise more.

"We've got quite a schedule," Anthony said. "We've got a competitive season this season, so we're doing quite a bit of travel. But we do have to pay for buses, so a lot of this money will go to offset the travel expenses."

Anthony said Nagel started preparing the team and parents for the chili supper at the beginning of the school year.

"Coach Nagel is probably one of the most organized coaches I've ever worked with at Rock Bridge," Anthony said. "We started meeting in August to get going, and she pretty much lets the team know what her expectations are as well as parents."

Anthony said the event needs a lot of planning and volunteers so that Rock Bridge does not spend any money on the event.

"The planning is organizing the parents basically," she said. "All the food is donated, and we have certain sponsors that donate paper goods, bread and crackers, so it's just a matter of contacting our sponsors and organizing our parents ... They're a championship team. It just takes one email and everyone pretty much volunteers, so it makes it pretty easy to do everything."

According to Anthony, Artisan Catering donates all the chili ingredients, Chipotle donates paper products, Jimmy John's donates bread, Wendy's donates crackers and parents bring vegetables and desserts. School cooks donate their time to cook and serve the chili.

Williams said that not only do the raffle and dinner raise money, but also awareness about their program. To set themselves apart, the team wore their green warm-ups and the same black T-shirt with the word "southside" on it for the game.

"We make money off it and also just get some support from the community and get our name out there," she said. "Its much bigger since its the Rock Bridge-Hickman game."

But do the Hickman fans eat Rock Bridge's chili?

"I think so," Williams said. "I mean, it's good chili, so why not?"

The Rock Bridge girls basketball team's next game is Friday night against visiting Glendale.

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