Division I Football Umpire Brett Dencker was our speaker today.  Being a ref is hard work, but none of us realized just how hard it is.
Our Classic 5000 was a big success.  Through ticket sales, bingo cards, raffle tickets and the like, we raised over $24,000.  After expenses, we will have $13,888 to use on good works in our community, region, and world.  
There are more people deserving of thanks and recognition in putting this together than I can fit into this space - including several former club members who must recall the Godfather III each year because of the way we keep 'pulling them back in.'
But I will single out Kathy Nowicki for her work this year.  She kept all the plates spinning and made sure nothing came crashing down.  It's good to see she's putting her retierment to such good use!
John Eilring brought several guests today to listen to Brett Dencker talk about being a college football ref.  
And Brett did not disappoint.  He talked about the thousands of hours of work and study necessary to become and remain a football ref.  Brett serves as an umpire in an eight person crew.  The eighth person was added this year - placed in the offensive backfield opposite where Brett stands among the linebackers.  The extra set of eyes is designed to help keep pace with an ever-faster pace of play.  
Brett walked us through several scenarios that he goes through every week to demonstrate all of the details he needs to track to ensure a fair, safe game.  He also showed videos of some infamous calls on the pro and college levels, detailing where the refs on the field went wrong.  The game is incredibly fast, Brett emphasized and it's easy to miss something, which is why you need to rely on your fellow officials.  He also uses three guiding principles to help him make the best call - mechanics, rule knowledge and philosophy. 
Brett loves football and enjoys giving back to the game.  He played football in high school and college and as an umpire, still wanders the trenches where he played.  He works to ensure the linemen on both sides play well and safely and with sportsmanship.