Steamboat Springs A group of Hayden youth football players had an experience this week they are likely to remember for the rest of their lives.
About 30 third- through sixth-graders loaded a bus and headed to Denver on Monday to attend the Broncos training camp and tour Sports Authority Field at Mile High. There were 27 Hayden players who walked away with an autograph from quarterback Peyton Manning after he took his pads off and walked to the sideline.
“He’s a really good guy,” Hayden fifth- and sixth-grade football coach Nathan Campbell said.
Campbell said Manning asked the kids how old they were and told them good luck as they head into the season. Needless to say, the kids were excited.
“Four days later, that’s all they still talk about,” Campbell said.
The trip to Denver was possible because of a friendship third- and fourth-grade coach Mike Remington has with a higher-up in the Broncos organization.
During practice, the Hayden players had VIP seating near the Dove Valley end zone.
“All the big plays happened right in front of us,” Campbell said.
After practice, the players headed to Sports Authority Field at Mile High for a tour. They saw the control room, replay room and got to step foot on the grass.
“They took us where no one gets to go,” Campbell said. “It was pretty much an awesome day in a nutshell.”
Campbell said the trip will be a memory the kids definitely will not forget.
“Being that close to Peyton Manning as a third-grader, they’re going to remember that for the rest of their lives,” Campbell said.
After the tour, the players returned to Hayden. On Tuesday, they started practicing for the upcoming season. Their first games are Aug. 27.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com
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