ELKINS - This summer, Elkins High School defensive lineman Tyler Pifer will travel halfway around the world on the journey of a lifetime. He was recently selected by Down Under Sports to participate in an international all-star football tournament in Brisbane, Australia.
To help raise funds, Pifer is hosting a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday at C.J. Maggie's in Elkins. The cost is $5 per person.
"It's the opportunity of a lifetime," Pifer said. "I can't wait to go. The only thing I'm a little nervous about is the flight. I've never flown before. I've never been out of West Virginia before, much less the country. I'm excited."
The Inter-Mountain file photo
Elklins High School’s Tyler Pifer has been selected to participate in an international all-star football tournament in Brisbane, Australia.
The 2014 Down Under Bowl is scheduled for June 28 through July 7. The games are played under High School Federation Rules and are officiated by USA and Australian officials.
"I'm looking forward to playing some football," Pifer said. "I haven't played since last fall. Hopefully, I will be seen by college recruiters and get a scholarship offer. Other than that, I'm just looking forward to having some fun."
Pifer will be joined by teammate Dylan Lucas, who was also selected to participate in the tournament.
"It will be nice having a friend with me," Pifer said. "I think it will make it a little easier. We're good friends, so I think it will be a fun time."
Pifer has already raised about half of funds for the $6,000 trip. However, he still needs some help raising the rest of the money by the June 2 deadline. Donations can made by visiting www.downundersports.com. Once on the website, visitors need to select the "Sponsor Athlete" link, fill in Pifer's full name, select "football" and fill in West Virginia for the location. The donations will help cover team clothing, airline tickets, hotel costs and any other arrangements.
According to a press release, Down Under Sports was founded in 1989 based upon the dream of a New Zealander by the name of George O'Scanlon.
He fell in love with American football as a young man and his desire has been to promote the gridiron sport, not only to the people of New Zealand but also to Australia where he lived for many years.
The Down Under Bowl was started which eventually led to the establishment of the Down Under Hoops Classic and the Down Under International Games. The Down Under sports programs use the common language of sports to bridge the continents and provide a forum for athletes from around the globe to compete head-to-head in the sport they love.
Some prior standouts of the Down Under Bowl include Jake Plummer, Ahman Green, Rob Morris, Dave Dixon and Jesse Williams, all former NFL players.
Donation arrangements can also be made by calling the Pifer family at 304-940-6324. Those donating can also enter to win a nine-day trip for two to the event. More information is available at www.downundersports.com.