Grain Valley Sports League raising money with raffle — of a rifle

Football players in the Grain Valley Sports League at the Aug. 31 Chiefs game.
Football players in the Grain Valley Sports League at the Aug. 31 Chiefs game. Grain Valley Sports League/Facebook

Help a kid, win a gun.

The start-up Grain Valley Sports League is raffling off a rifle — specifically an AR-15 — to raise money for equipment and other expenses required to get a new league on its feet.

At $10 per chance to win a $500 gun, the raffle tickets are flying.

“We’ve had people from Emporia, Kan., and Liberty contact us wanting tickets,” said league organizer Rob Harrington, who is also executive director of the civic organization Grain Valley Partnership. “We’ve had a lot of support.”

Harrington said he has received no negative feedback about using a gun to raise money.

“Honestly, I’m born and raised in northern Missouri and there’s probably a gun raffle every month for somebody,” he said. “We need money for the kids...and this is how we’re doing it.”

Harrington, his wife and two others formed the league this year after a previously one disbanded.

“There was a void left in the community,” Harrington said.

The league is beginning with football season. There is a tackle division for 2nd through 7th graders. A flag football division includes kindergarteners. There is also a cheerleading squad.

It’s not cheap. There are helmets, pads, other equipment and insurance to buy and referees to hire. And the goal was to make sure every kid who wanted to participate could, even if their family could not afford the fees.

Organizers were surprised when the families of 23 kids asked for some assistance, totaling about $4,000.

In all, there are about 100 kids participating in tackle football, 37 in boy’s and girl’s cheerleading and about 25 in flag football. The Grain Valley League joined the Kansas City Youth Football League and plays teams around the metro.

Grain Valley organizers bought the raffle rifle at Shootersmart in Blue Springs. The winner, who must be at least 18, will have to go there and go through a background check to receive it.

The goal is for every kid in the tackle division to sell 10 tickets, which would raise $10,000. But the kids don’t have to sell tickets if they don’t want to. Harrington on Wednesday said he did not know how much had been raised so far. Ticket information can be found on the league’s Facebook page.

The raffle drawing will be at halftime during the league’s last home game, which starts at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at Grain Valley High School.

As for the AR-15 rifle, Harrington said it is not an assault or automatic weapon.

“There is a misconception that AR means assault rifle, which it doesn’t. It’s just like any other deer rifle.”

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC