Nearly 200 people attended the Coach Kinen Wrestling Black Out last night (Tuesday) at the Chillicothe High School Varsity/Junior Varsity wrestling meet in the Chillicothe Middle School Fieldhouse. The event, sponsored by CHS FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), raised nearly $700 for Coach Dave Kinen, the former CHS wrestling coach who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Janice Shaffer, president of the Wrestling Parents group, collaborated with FCCLA chapter adviser Kristi Christy to make the event possible. Shaffer said they decided to make the event a “blackout” to honor Coach Kinen, due to both his previous and continued involvement with the wrestling program.
“Coach Kinen was our former head wrestling coach,” Shaffer said. “He continues to support the athletes currently, as well as the staff, by attending, by giving words of encouragement, even still critiquing moves on the mat. He’s definitely still a part of the wrestling community in Chillicothe and beyond. The support comes not just from the local Chillicothe area, but he was known and respected throughout the sport throughout the state of Missouri. It’s a natural thing to make it a blackout event for Coach Kinen, because he's had such a positive influence on the athletes, coaches and entire community."
Many of the attendees wearing black wore shirts that read “Never Quit,” Kinen's motto and theme. Shaffer said he has shared this theme throughout the community for many years and it continues to be an inspiration.
“His theme, ‘Never Quit,’ was one he not only shared on the wrestling mat as an athlete, but I had a group of middle school students that recall him using that phrase with them in grade school,” Shaffer added. “He was encouraging kids to push beyond what they perceived to be their limit, and now he's living that very theme every day.”
Proceeds from Tuesday night's event came from a variety of sources. 810 WHB TV donated one-third of their profits from their online streaming of the wrestling meet to the cause. Wabash BBQ in Chillicothe donated pulled pork, buns and other items to create a $4 meal plan sold at concession stands, with all proceeds going to Coach Kinen. When it came time to "pass the hat" throughout the bleachers, attendees donated roughly $225.
Perhaps the most popular item sold, however, were “Kinen Cakeballs,” sold by CHS senior Brittany Stanfield. The cakeballs sold out nearly half an hour after the concession stand opened, bringing in an estimated $100 for Coach Kinen as well. Stanfield originally began selling cakeballs as her business project for Susan Mayer's entrepreneurship class at Grand River Technical School in the winter of 2012. Mayers said that most students enjoy the business project because they are allowed to keep any profit earned; Stanfield was the first student to suggest creating a nonprofit business.
Page 2 of 2 - Stanfield said she wanted to donate her proceeds to Kinen because he has played a big role in her life since she met him in kindergarten.
“I wanted to do something for Coach (Kinen),” Stanfield explained. “I just felt like he could use it more than I could. If anybody deserved it, he did. I remember when I first started developing asthma ... he was one of my track coaches. There was one specific day where I just could not breathe and I wanted to stop and take my inhaler. Whenever I tried getting back up and running again the other coaches said, ‘No, you need to sit down, you can't do this.’ But Coach (Kinen) said, 'No, she can do this, she's okay.' He was kind of there for me when nobody else was. He believed in me.”
During the class project, Stanfield earned about $270 for Kinen. She continued to sell her cakeballs, even making Halloween-themed cakeballs to sell at CHS. Stanfield said she wanted to keep selling them because of the response from the community.
"I just saw how many people came together and wanted to help out, and it made me really happy," Stanfield said. "I was so glad that our community was this way and acted so helpful."
Though Stanfield is unsure whether she will continue her “Kinen Cakeballs” business once she graduates due to the time commitment, she said she has enjoyed making them and giving her proceeds to Kinen.
Overall, Janice Shaffer said the Coach Kinen Wrestling Black Out event was a success.
"The support was amazing," Shaffer said. "Kinen is so positive, everyone wants to be a part of that. It really is contagious."