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A special event for women who love Jackets football is Aug. 10 in the Cleburne High School cafeteria with the Helmet and Heels brunch, sponsored by the CHS Football Parents Association. Among the organizers are, from left, Kaci Lowe, Amber Witte, Heather Payne and Abby Walraven. 



Women of the community who love the Jackets — and Jackets football — are invited to team up for the inaugural Helmets and Heels at 11 a.m. Aug. 10 in the Cleburne High School cafeteria. 

Sponsored by the CHS Football Parents Association, the benefit brunch will be honoring Pat Tuggle, who served as the secretary of the CISD athletic department for more than two decades. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at jacketparents.rallyup.com. A limited number of tables for reserved seating for eight are also available.

The “girls only” event has been in the works for some time, said Amber Witte, who is among the association members planning the fundraiser. Organizers also include Abby Walraven, Kaci Lowe, Heather Payne, Jennifer Houston, Angela Naquin, Ofelia Villegas, Crystal Smith, Ronda Woodall, Savannah Pugh, Rachel Shields, Angie Carrizales, Delisha Macklin, Yvette Gann, Emily Long and Karen Hillis.

“This is a way to honor the special women who have been involved in the Jackets football program and have given a lot of their time as a supporter,” Witte said. “We want to recognize a woman who has supported the football program for years and still attends games. When we sat down and were thinking about who to honor, a couple of names came up. We felt Pat was the ideal honoree for our first Helmet and Heels event.”

Walraven is among the Jacket coaches’ wives who has also been involved in the preparing for the Cleburne version of a Helmets and Heels event.

“This is something Heather Payne and I have seen on Facebook,” she said. “We hoped to get it off the ground last year, and I’m so excited it’s come together now. We plan to have two coaches speak at the brunch. This event is open to all women who are interested in learning more about the Cleburne football program. I’ve been a coach’s wife for 15 years. and I still have questions about football.”

Several members of the Jackets football team and the varsity cheer squad will be volunteering their time as servers. Several table hostesses are already lined up and will be adding some competitive spirit to the festivities.

“We are hoping to ultimately have a hostess for each table, who will be competing in a table decorating contest,” Witte said. “The table chosen as the best decorated comes with a prize for the ‘designer.’ We are also inviting everyone attending to come in ‘tailgate chic,’ which means wear your black and gold and bling it up.”

A silent auction relating to football and the football season will add to the Jacket spirit of the event, with a photo booth contributing to the fun and festivities. Jacket spirit items will also be for sale. 

Thirteen of the 20 reserved tables designated for the brunch have already been purchased, which has one committee member — and a Jackets football mom — very excited.

“Right now we have commitments from 100 people, which is amazing,” Lowe said. “As a mom of a player, I love seeing family involvement, and coming out to a Jackets game is a great way for a family to spend time together. What’s also great about coming out for a football game is you are supporting a lot of kids. In addition to the players, you are also supporting the cheerleaders, the dance team, the band and the programs raising funds through the concession stands. It’s a win for everyone.”

Proceeds from Helmets and Heels will assist the Jackets football program in several ways, Witte said.

“What we do as parents in the football association is to raise money for pre-game food, snack bags and the football banquet,” she said. “But we could also help the program with other needs, based on the success of Helmets and Heels.”

CHS Head Football Coach Casey Walraven is hopeful this new project, celebrating the dedication of some special Jacket Backers, will become an annual event.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of women with a passion for the game and the kids involved in the game,” Casy Walraven said. “I love the spirit they bring to Friday night. It’s good for our players to meet and recognize the members of this special fan base. They need to respect and honor women. We, as coaches, wanted to be a part of this and involve the players, so we are thrilled with this opportunity.”

Casey Walraven, who is entering his third season with the Jackets, with the help of his wife introduced a new team activity in his first year with Cleburne in organizing a brunch for the mothers of his players. It has been a welcome addition to the list of traditions associated with Jackets football for Witte, who is a football mom for a second time.

“Coach Walraven knows how much moms help the kids, and help him,” Witte said. “Hosting this brunch is something he has done since he first became a head coach. He has been committed to honoring the mothers of his players, and I think his team members appreciate that. Each player stands up and tell something about their mom or the guest they have brought to the brunch. Coach Walraven’s mom also comes.”

For more information on Helmets and Heels, or to purchase a table for the event call 817-648-2656. 



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