The Sioux Empire Football Officials Clinic started as a modest effort by a pair of experienced Sioux Falls football officials, Orrin Anderson and Jim Ricketts, Sr. to provide officials for a summer high school football team camp sponsored by Augustana College and Sioux Valley Hospital.
Now in its eighth year, that modest effort has mushroomed into one of the best high school football officials’ clinics in the Midwest, if not the entire country. Anderson and Ricketts approached area officials and the South Dakota High School Activities Association with the concept of running a multiple day summer clinic for officials where the officials could receive credit for their rules and mechanics meetings as well as their jamboree scrimmage.
The initial year, 2003, was geared mostly to on-field activity, but Anderson and Ricketts saw more potential for the clinic, and created a committee to work with them. Through their officiating network they contacted Carl Madsen, a National Football League official in the St Louis area and asked him to attend as a featured speaker. In 2004, the clinic drew 32 officials for a two day clinic which included classroom presentations as well as on-field full contact eleven man scrimmages.
The following year, Madsen persuaded his St. Louis NFL officiating buddy Joe Larrew to attend. The format for the clinic was adjusted and the clinic was marketed regionally. More officials attended and the classroom activities were refined. By 2007 and 2008, the clinic had added NFL officials Mike Spanier of Sartel, MN and long time NFL Referee Bill Carollo of Shorewood, WI and the number of officials had swelled to nearly 100.
In 2009, the clinic welcomed Big Ten Referee Bill LeMonnier, Tingley Park, IL and his wealth of information and video from USA Football, and Big Twelve Umpire John (Butch) Mascerello, Plattsmouth, NE. Attendance again topped 100.
The 2010 clinic promises to be the best clinic to date, with tentative commitments from Madsen, Larrew, Spanier, LeMonnier and Mascerello. Carollo and Tony Michaelek (NFL Umpire and USA Football) continue to be possibilities. Buck Timmins with the South Dakota High School Activities Association and Dave Carlsrud with the North Dakota High School Activities Association are also on board as are Colin Kapitan, Eastern South Dakota Conference Supervisor of Officials and Rich Hanson, Great Dakota Conference Supervisor of Officials.
The clinic has grown from a small group of 30 or so officials, meeting in the Augustana College wrestling room, to a group of nearly 120 officials meeting in multiple rooms with first class video capabilities and working full contact scrimmages in front of quality clinicians. The camp is conducted on the campus of Augustana College, a Division II program, with facilities that are now second to none. The camp features multiple NFL and NCAA Division I officials along with a good number of Division II and NAIA college officials who assist with much of the on-field evaluations and observations.
This clinic has been praised by many attendees as being of the highest quality at an extremely modest cost. The clinic is $125 for two days of high quality training, including three meals and clinic gift/memento. Rarely, if ever, can you assemble four NFL and two NCAA Division I officials of the caliber that this clinic has presented for its attendees at such a modest cost. Officials have attended from as far away as Connecticut and Missouri and have praised the quality and indicated they will be returning because they got more out of this clinic than any other they had ever attended.