Updated: Jul 8
Written by: Doug Campbell ('81)
The Shadyside Athletic Boosters held their 12th Annual Big Cat Lineman Challenge at Fleming Field on Friday, July 22, 2022.
The Lineman Challenge is the brainchild of Doug Campbell (‘81) and is a friendly but intense competition amongst high school football linemen from in and around the OVAC. It consists of ten different events including the bench press, sandbag fill, truck push, an obstacle course which linemen utilize their speed and agility to get through a painstaking course that stretches them to their limits, the sled push, a medicine ball throw, farmers walk, the pro agility drill and the tug-o-war. The latter being the event that has decided the winner of the team competition for each of the last five years.
“After getting out of coaching, I still wanted to stay involved with our program somehow,” said Campbell. “I started attending some Booster meetings and they were looking for some fresh ideas for events. I had been doing some research, mainly on the internet and found some videos from similar events in California, Florida, and Texas. They take this seriously in Texas. So seriously that they have state qualifiers and major championships. So, I took what I saw and put it down on paper. Once I was satisfied with what I had, I took it to the next Booster meeting and brought it up before the group,” Campbell continued.
Campbell went on to say that the marriage with the Boosters could not be better for the event. He noted that former Booster President Bud Davis (‘77), former treasurer Joe Sedinger (‘72), and current treasurer Dennis Palicka (‘73) were all instrumental in helping to get the event off the ground.
“This event doesn’t happen without those guys and the rest of the Boosters Club,” said Campbell.
Campbell went on to credit the current officers and membership of the Boosters by pointing out how they have helped take the event to new heights.
“I sat back and watched this year,” said Campbell. “We’ve got guys like current boosters' officers Matt Merryman (‘85) and Brady Stewart as well as Dr. Bob Caldwell, Jr. (‘78). They take the reins on event day.” These guys run with it these days. I am merely an administrator anymore,” he continued. He went on to thank the dozens of volunteers who help every year including the Shadyside Football Moms who work the concessions stands, athletic director, John Triveri as well as his family. His wife Lanie helps out with getting shirts sorted, son Jeff (’08) does a lot of grunt work leading up to the event and is now the event’s photographer while daughter Ashley (‘12) has been a photographer and is now the event’s medical attendant.
The event, which started in 2010 just finished its thirteenth year after taking 2020 off due to Covid protocols. During the thirteen-year run, the event has hosted more than 1,000 linemen, awarded more than 350 medals and plaques, and awarded nearly $5,000 in scholarships.
“That’s the one I’m proud of – the scholarships,” said Campbell. “Those are made possible by the sponsors, and we have some great sponsors,” he continued. Even after the Covid year, while businesses were recovering, these businesses stepped up and continued to support us. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for all the support.” This year the event awarded three more scholarships. Those recipients were, Kris Tsoras (‘22) and Logan Crozier (‘22) of Shadyside and William Smith of St. Clairsville.
Sponsors for the 2022 Big Cat Lineman Challenge were, OH/WV Excavating, Ohio River Aggregate, Quality Environmental Services, Kinetic Networking, Melanko Construction, Belmont County Tourism Council, Raze International, Dr. Robert Caldwell ‘(78), DeFelice Bros. Pizza, Johnson Brother Automotive, Belmont Savings & Loan, United Dairy, John McNamara (’79), WesBanco Bank, WOMP-FM, United Masonry and Pacifico Heating and Cooling.
The 2022 BCLC consisted of 26 teams representing 17 schools from around the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference as well as surrounding areas. This year’s team winner went to the Union Local Jets and the individual top scorer award went Union Local junior Johnny Sabinski.
Plans are already underway for next year’s Lineman Challenge which will take place on Friday, July 21, 2023.
For more information on the Big Cat Lineman Challenge, please visit their website at bigcatlinemanchallenge.net or on Facebook at Shadyside Boosters Big Cat Lineman Challenge.
If you would be interested in helping as a volunteer for next year’s event or have an interest in sponsorship, please contact Doug Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 740-359-2104