Regional football officials recruiting new refs in Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Regional football officials recruiting new refs in Vail Valley

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By day, Bryan Treu is Eagle County’s attorney. By night he’s judge jury and executioner.

Treu is in his second decade as a high school football official. Mikel “Pappy” Kerst is in his third. Jeff Shroll has been at it for a couple decades, as well. In his day job he’s the Gypsum town manager.

Football season is upon us, and someone needs to keep track of the gloriously organized mayhem.

They’re looking for a few good football officials.

“We need a few new ones every year, and this year is no exception,” said Kerst.

Kerst has been calling local high school football games for three decades. Bryan Treu

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Local officials are part of the Three Rivers Football Association, which is NOT found anywhere near Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium. (There’s a free Vail Daily T-shirt for anyone who can name the three rivers and spell them correctly from memory.) The three rivers from the local Three Rivers Association are not as grand, but are not nearly as polluted.

Anyway, the regional football officials just had their first meeting on Wednesday and you can still get your whistle and hat.

There’ll be a quiz, but you’ll pass

They have a blast every time out, says Treu.

“Most of us have been doing it for years, and every time you walk out on that field under those lights with the band playing, the crowd cheering and the players preparing, it gets you fired up,” Treu says.

They’re constantly asked if officials have to know everything about football.

“No,” says Kerst, “you do not. But you have to want to be around kids.”

You have to know what a football is, and you need a clear understanding of sportsmanship. A little common sense helps, too. Everything else they’ll teach you, Kerst says.

“We mentor each new official for as long as they need it,” Kerst says. “We want them to be successful.”

Everyone has to take a 100-question quiz. It’s good to study. In fact, it’s down right necessary. But everyone takes it together and everyone almost always passes.

One guy has been doing it 45 years, Jim Nieslamic of Glenwood Springs.

Crews usually average 20 years experience, Kerst says. He has 30 years. Treu has 20. So does Shroll, the Gypsum town manager.

Kerst worked a state championship game with a crew that had 160 years of combined experience.

“Coaches always want to know that,” Kerst says.

For information, contact mikelkerst@yahoo.com, or call 977-1007