Howard Grant Bramhall has played soccer for six years now. And, he can state he’s the top regional in the boys’ U12 age division in the Elks Regional Soccer Shoot-Out program.
He advanced to regional competition after winning at the local level in Farmington, district level in Jackson and the state level in Jefferson City.
Howard, age 11, twin brother, Cullen, and mom Sherri Klepzig traveled to El Dorado, Kansas on Nov. 2-4 for the Elks Regional Mid-America Soccer Shoot.
Participants from Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas competed in the event.
He’s been playing soccer since he was five years old and in kindergarten at St. Paul Elementary School. Now, he and his brother are in the fifth grade and still have a love for the sport.
He plays soccer year-round on Team Fury with FC Farmington as well as a member of the St. Paul Giants.
This was his first time to compete in the soccer shoot-out. He’s participated in the Elks Hoop Shoot contest, but only advancing on to Jackson in that competition, he said.
To practice, Howard said he used a goal at his home – aiming for the corners to help practice for the competition.
His advice to anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps? Try to win, he said. And, “keep pushing until you succeed at your goal.”
Tom Benoist, Bobby Bone, Lonnie Edwards, Bob Bone, Jerry Weems, Mike Short, Dave Warner and Don Boynton were the committee heading up the local competition under the direction of Bob Bone. Edwards, the Exalted Ruler of the local order, helped the family with their travels to Kansas, adding sponsoring students in events such as these is the backbone of the fraternal organization.
“We’re all about charity,” Edwards said. “That’s the number one thing in our order is charity. For us to get behind a group of kids is what we want.”
He said the order also puts together Christmas baskets during the holiday season as well as scholarship funds.
One area the group wanted to increase in, Edwards said, was offering sports events for students.
For years, the group has sponsored the basketball Hoop Shoot program. When the opportunity arose to host a local soccer shoot program, the order jumped at the chance. Edwards said he spoke with organizers of the Jackson event about what is involved when hosting the soccer shoot-out.
“With soccer being so popular – and getting more popular every year,” Edwards said, the decision was an easy one to make.
Edwards said the Farmington Elks were also asked to host the district competition in 2019 – ordering even more room for advancement.