'LAST CHANCE' FOR FOUR LOCAL PLAYERS
By Raenelle Kwock
It has been called "The Greatest Little Shrine Game in the World."
The East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game brings together the top players from Class 3A, 2A and 1A levels for one night to showcase their talents.
This year's annual game is at 7 p.m. Saturday at Baker Memorial Bulldog Stadium.
Joseph's Randall Eschler, Powder Valley's Todd Baxter, Elgin's Blake Eckstein and Wallowa's Randy Spaur are on the first team.
Eschler said it is a personal honor to help Shriners Hos-pital.
"It's a last chance," he said about playing in the annual football game. "One more limelight opportunity."
It will be the last chance for Eschler to suit up in a football uniform. He will be trading football pads for ranky bulls this fall. He will attend Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario and ride bulls on the rodeo team.
Treasure Valley Community College participates in the Northwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Eastern Oregon University is also a member of the region.
For Baxter, he said being involved in the Shrine Game is "like a dream come true."
Baxter lives in Baker City and attended Powder Valley High School in North Powder for four years.
He said he has always gone to the annual game since he was a young kid.
Baxter said one of his goals was to play in the annual game.
"It's been fun," he said of the daily doubles at Eastern Oregon University campus.
He will be attending Snow Junior College in Utah in the fall. He plans on playing football during the second semester.
Eschler interrupts and says the four friends bought bikes from the Salvation Army because they have to walk a lot around campus. He said Eckstein had a little purple bike and Baxter had shocks in the wheels.
Eckstein's older brother played in the Shrine game four years ago.
He said it has been fun getting to know the players from other teams.
"It's a good experience," he said.
Eckstein is headed to the University of Missouri in Jefferson City.
Spaur said there has not been a Wallowa High School player in the Shrine game for at least five years.
"It's an honor and a goal," Spaur said about making the team.
Spaur broke bones in his leg midseason and is not 100 percent healed.
He will attend Western Oregon University and major in graphic design.
Spaur does not know if he will play football.
"The leg may not handle it," he said.