36th Annual Community Trust Bank - WYMT Pike County Bowl canceled

With the season shortened due to COVID-19, the 2020 Community Trust Bank - WYMT Pike County Bowl was canceled.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 1:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 4:40 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - With the season shortened due to COVID-19, the 36th annual Community Trust Bank - WYMT Pike County Bowl has been canceled.

“It’s almost as much social as it is football and just a tremendous event,” Community Trust Bank - Pikeville Market President Brett Keene said. “Not having it, I’m sure - just like we all felt not having March Madness, it’s disappointing.”

“It is a disappointment no doubt,” said Eric Ratliff, Pike Central Football coach. “Our kids always look forward to playing in the Pike County Bowl. It is one of the bigger crowds you will play in front of.”

However, the committee will give the money meant to put on the bowl game to the six Pike County schools, in addition to giving smaller scholarships to all eight Pike County Queen candidates.

“Some of our county schools and smaller programs rely heavily on that money to basically fund their teams,” Keene said. “So we didn’t want to put them in a situation where they may not be able to handle it, so we definitely still wanted to make a contribution.”

On Tuesday, July 28th, the KHSAA moved to push the start of the high school football season back three weeks to September 11. The Pike County Bowl was scheduled for Friday, August 28 at Belfry and Saturday, August 29 at Pikeville.

Keene says the committee will not push the bowl back to the extra week of the season on the weekend of November 6 or look to do anything during the other sports seasons.

“Pike County Bowl is traditionally the kick-off to the season, and you couldn’t have it anyway if you didn’t have full fan access with all the limitations and social distancing,” Keene added.

Teams are looking at options to fill that extra week of the season, but the main concern is just to have a season for their seniors.

“They deserve to have their senior season and they also they deserve to get the opportunity to put some highlights together so they can get recruited if need be,” said Phelps coach Andrew West.

Here is the full release from the committee:

Out of concern for the wellbeing and safety of students, teachers, volunteers, fans, and local communities — and with the recent restructuring of football schedules by the Kentucky and West Virginia High School Athletic Associations — the Community Trust Bank WYMT-TV Pike County Bowl Committee, at their meeting held July 30, 2020, has canceled the annual Pike County Bowl games which had been set for August 28 and August 29, 2020. At their July 28, 2020 meeting, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) changed the high school football game schedule, canceling the first three games and beginning competition on September 11, 2020.

This announcement is following the increased and overwhelming concerns in the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We felt this that was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented time,” said Brett Keene, Community Trust Bank Pikeville Market President and Pike County Bowl Committee member. “Community Trust Bank is disappointed that the well-known football tradition in eastern Kentucky will not happen this year for local fans and supporters.”

Over the past 35 years, 54 schools’ teams have played 116 football games in the Pike County Bowl. Community Trust Bank and WYMT-TV financially support the Pike County Bowl, allowing the proceeds of the games to be donated to all Pike County, Kentucky high schools. These donations to the Pike County, Kentucky high schools total more than $926,000 over the past 35 years.

“Please know that Community Trust Bank remains committed to supporting our local schools and communities,” said Mark A. Gooch, President and CEO of Community Trust Bank, Inc. “We thank everyone who has supported the annual Community Trust Bank WYMT-TV Pike County Bowl games over the years and look forward to bringing you Bowl Games in 2021.”

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