Seven years ago there were just 24 kids at the annual Bobcat Junior Development Football Camp. On Monday there was more than 300.
"It's grown,” said Jason McEndoo, Bobcat’s offensive line coach. “It's not just a Bozeman camp. This is a statewide camp. We have kids from the four corners of Montana who come here. They travel. We have a lot of small school kids out from rural eastern Montana."
The players who are in grades six through eight learn everything there is about football, including how to stay safe on the field.
"Everybody wants to play games, but nobody wants to work on the fundamentals,” said Coach McEndoo. “Base blocking, how to get in a proper stance, how to catch a ball, how to throw a ball, how to block. Football comes down to various fundamental things. That's blocking, catching, and throwing."
For a handful of days, the junior high aged kids will get a chance to showcase their skills on the college gridiron.
Next will come the even younger kids.
"We've got another series of camps next week,” Coach McEndoo said. “We do a kindergarten through sixth grade, non-contact. Then we have our final high school camp on the 27th of June. So We've got a few more weeks to go and hopefully the sun's going to come out at some point in time."
While the younger players come out to learn, it's also a chance for them to live out a dream, playing in Bobcat Stadium and on the college turf.
"A lot of kids come to this camp in Bozeman because they want to be in Bobcat Stadium, they want to experience the field turf, they want to watch the videos,” said Coach McEndoo. “They want to be here, so it has turned into a great event."