By Jacqueline Brown

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE Two top teams in junior college football are scheduled to meet Saturday at Bulldawg Stadium in the Heart of Texas Bowl, and local businesses are braced to accommodate more than 1,000 tourists expected to follow.

Its excellent for our economy, said Marty Smith, president of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce.

Smith said that if Cove residents showed their support by going to the game, it could encourage similar events that would benefit the community in the future.

If people will get enthusiastic about these things, theres not much we couldnt do here in the city, she said.

However, she doesnt see any reason to choose sides. Im rooting for both teams, she said.

Whether the HOT Bowl trophy goes to the Dodge City (Kansas) Conquistadors or the Cisco Wranglers, Smith said its a victory for Copperas Cove.

Copperas Cove High School Athletic Director Jack Welch agrees. He said the teams will stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and buy gasoline at local convenience stores.

You can just imagine the dollars that theyre spending, he said. Welch explained that junior college games might not generate as many spectators as Friday night football, but the players and spectators are completely reliant on local businesses for resources.

Dodge City Community College booked 30 rooms at the Best Western in Copperas Cove for three nights.

Were going to bring 55 players, six coaches, 12 cheerleaders and about six administrators, said Marcus Garstecki, head football coach.

He said the group has plans to eat breakfast two days at Applebees in Copperas Cove and dinner at Ryans Steakhouse in Killeen.

Food, a place to sleep and a little bit of football on Saturday; it doesnt get much better than that, he said.

Coach Kurt Nichols of the Cisco Junior College Wranglers said there werent enough rooms available in Copperas Cove so his team is spending two nights at the Royal Inn in Killeen. However, the team did book 30 rooms at the Howard Johnson in Copperas Cove for Friday night, and Nichols said the 75 people in his group will need at least six meals during their stay.

We will spend several thousand dollars in the area just on food, he said. Well pretty much eat, sleep practice and play football.

Welch said he expects a minimum of 1,000 people at the game, but past HOT Bowls have seen anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 spectators.

He also said the Dodge City players are planning to visit the local elementary schools to speak about the dangers of drugs and alcohol as a part of the CHAMPS program, and the HOT Bowl will host a banquet for the teams at the high school on Friday.

Contact Jacqueline Brown at

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