by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The Durand football program, under the direction of new varsity head coach Rick Winbigler, has completely transformed the program’s fundraising strategy with the introduction of the Railroader 300. Gone are the days of candy and nut, cookie dough, discount card and popcorn sales, with parents and players having to constantly knock on their neighbors’ doors for donations. Instead, the entire Durand Area Schools football program, from flag football through varsity, will be funded through one fundraising event.

Coach Winbigler’s idea is to hold one celebration each summer, prior to the start of football season, where the community will come together to have a good time and raise money for the Durand football program. This year’s event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 28 at the VFW in Durand, which is located at 923 N. Saginaw Street. The Railroader 300 will feature all-you-can-eat barbeque food by Jon Hovis’ Burning Ring of Fire and all-you-can-drink beverages, along with games – such as cornhole and euchre tournaments – and entertainment.

There will be 300 tickets sold for the event, with each ticket ranging from $1 to $300 in price. If every ticket is sold, the event would net the program a little more than $45,000, which would be used to fund equipment purchases for the entire football program. Pre-event tickets can be purchased by contacting coach Winbigler at Anyone not purchasing a pre-event ticket will be entered into a drawing at the event. Names will be drawn throughout the evening, with donation values rising from $1 for the first name drawn, up to $300 for the last name drawn, though several of the higher-priced tickets have already been purchased by Riverside Market, Lockhart Roofing and the Shift Shop.

Many of the higher-level donations will come with additional incentives. Beginning at ticket No. 100, perks will include Club 52 tickets, reserved parking spots for football games, discounts on youth football dues and team-issued clothing, and reserved 50-yard-line seating.

With the proceeds from the Railroader 300, coach Winbigler hopes to be able to provide top-of-the-line helmets and shoulder pads for every player in the Durand football program, and upgrading the high school weight room is high on his list of priorities. He also wants to be able to significantly cut costs for players at every level by issuing game cleats and jerseys, and by trimming the cost of youth football dues, all of which can be accomplished through the Railroader 300.

Durand Football Introduces the Railroader 300 was last modified: June 4th, 2018 by Karen Elford