Rapid City Midget Football, established in 1982, is currently celebrating their 40th anniversary season in 2022.
Chris Meier, president of Rapid City Midget Football, explained the vision of the organization.
“[Rapid City Midget Football] really was started to support football in West River, South Dakota, with kind of the mindset of bringing good sportsmanship, hard work and just an activity for kids in Rapid City. A group of guys got together and decided that they needed to have something like this, and it kind of pulled people together and fundraised and kind of bought equipment and actually had it stored in one of the guys’ basements the first few years.”
Rapid City Midget Football is a co-ed league and welcomes players between fourth and seventh grade to play tackle football.
“We actually have a couple of girls playing this year,” said Meier. “I think it’s just that’s a good place for kids to learn and grow and place to kind of learn and teach those life lessons that sports can sports can afford you. We’re definitely concerned about safety. You know, it is a violent sport, but we want to supply our players with the best equipment that’s out there. So, we spent a lot of money on good helmets and shoulder pads and things like that. And this year we’ve actually purchased guardian caps for our players, which are kind of a protective cover on the outside of the helmet.”
Rapid City Midget Football is a nonprofit organization.
“All of our money that’s invested through registrations, through our fundraising, all of that goes back into the league to buy equipment, pay for field maintenance, pay for officials, that kind of stuff,” said Meier.
Jim Weaver, treasurer of Rapid City Midget Football shared what he loves most about working with the league.
“So well, I’ve played football since probably the sixth grade,” said Weaver. “I played football through high school, college and I’ve been associated with football coaches and players all my life, basically. It’s just been a great game and I’ve loved it. It teaches a lot of responsibility and accountability. It gives them a good experience. And that’s what we want to do. Our league is growing, kids are coming back to the game of football.”
Although the league consists primarily of players from Rapid City, children from all over the Black Hills participate in Rapid City Midget Football.
“A lot of kids come in from Hermosa, Box Elder— we’ve even had kids drive in from Pine Ridge, Black Hawk, Piedmont, and so, it’s not just for the Rapid City kids,” said Weaver.
According to Weaver, the league has big plans to expand the program and to build football fields for games in the future.
“We have developed a plan to build our own facility eight football fields, regular sized football fields, with a concession stand, equipment storage building, restrooms and now we’re just looking for some property to put it on. Once we find that property, then we’ll start a fundraising program to develop this facility,” said Weaver.
For more information about Rapid City Midget Football, visit their website here.