Some National Football League fans believe the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie quarterback Dak Prescott should be named MVP of the league this year and his equally talented rookie teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, be crowned Rookie of the Year.
Others just as vociferously see it the other way around with Prescott as top rookie and the running back Elliott as Most Valuable Player.
While this intriguing debate — not often have two players on a team competed for both prestigious awards at the same time — rages in sports bars around the nation, one bar in Manatee County has it totally covered.
Knowing Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub, 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, raises money for Manatee and Sarasota disadvantaged children every New Year’s Day with its annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge, Dallas Cowboy fans Richard Rigg and his girlfriend, Jayne Hinkle, recently presented Clancy’s with a brand new football signed in silver marker by both Prescott and Elliott.
The Prescott-Elliott ball, which also includes a letter of authenticity, will be up for grabs to the highest bidder in a silent auction along with many other items at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the bar, said Clancy’s owner, Rayma Stowe.
The ball was actually signed in the preseason, Rigg said.
“This year’s ball was a tough one,” said Rigg who has associates with Star Sports Tours in Dallas, the official tour company for the Cowboys and last year donated an Ed “Too Tall” Jones authentic game jersey.
“I asked my sources during the preseason if it was possible to get anything signed,” Rigg added. “I got lucky because both signed the ball. The value of the ball skyrocketed once Dak and Zeke were invited to the Pro Bowl. To be honest, I’d love to keep the ball but it’s for a great cause. Jayne and I aren’t rich but we’re thankful for what we have and that we’re able to help local kids in a small way.”
The ball’s auction will be the final, but perhaps most dramatic, act in Clancy’s Ninth Annual Shamrock Shiver Plunge for charity, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Sunday with a costume contest at Bradenton Beach followed by a noon dip into the Gulf of Mexico no matter how cold the water might be.
A Post Plunge Party at Clancy’s, with door prizes, the auction and music by Jack Tamburin Band, follows the swim. The Shiver’s motto has long been, “Give where you live,” Stowe said.
“The money comes in five and 10 dollar bills, from people who are, themselves, often just getting by,” said Shiver official historian Liza Gorin, a plunger herself every year.
The number of people who take the dip for charity has risen from about 40 in 2009 to more than 100 last year, Gorin added.
Although most years the New Years Day Gulf water has been bearable — it was so nice last year that people didn’t want to come out — in 2010 the water temperature was 58 and the air temperature was 63, Goren said.
“It was horrible,” Stowe recalled Tuesday with a shiver.
The event has raised $169,770 since 2009 with 100 percent of the funds benefiting Caring for Children Charities, a fundraising arm of the Florida Winefest & Auction, a not-for-profit organization, Gorin said.
“I knew two Cowboys had signed, but I really didn’t know which ones,” Stowe said Tuesday. “It turned out to be these amazing rookies. We’re very proud of this and hope it brings a lot of money for the children.”
If you go
- What: Clancy’s Ninth annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge to benefit disadvantaged children and families in the area
- When: 11:30 a.m. costume contest followed by noon plunge on Sunday
- Where: Gulf Drive and Seventh Street South, Bradenton Beach; post plunge party at Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub, 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton
- Donations: To plunge, pledge or donate call Clancy’s 941-794-2489 or Florida Winefest 941-952-1109.