Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) will continue their philanthropic event TKE Fight Night after last year’s fight was cancelled for the first time in 10 years.
TKE members said they’re looking forward to this year’s fight on April 19 in the Sanford Coyote Sport Center, and they’ve learned from last year’s mistakes.
TKE Fight Night is a registered amateur boxing event, and all proceeds go toward St. Judes Children’s Hospital.
Josh Anderson, a junior political science and business administration major and president of TKE, said participation in the 34th annual TKE Fight Night is encouraged for all students, not just those involved in greek life.
“We always try and encourage USD students to participate,” Anderson said. “We always get a few either that just have an interest in boxing or are supported by their student organization, whether it’s another fraternity or sorority or chapter on campus. I think it’s really unique and it’s a different experience for students to be a part of.”
Different student organizations across campus are participating, such as ROTC and the boxing club as well as a boxing club from Sioux Falls. Anderson said there are participants preparing to fight, however, there is not a set number of fighters competing.
“There’s been a solid group of about eight people so far to practices and being a part of it,” Anderson said. “As you go through, you’ll learn who the committed people are, and more people are welcome to still come and take part in practice and take part in the event.”
With around $5,600 raised in April 2016, TKE members are determined to meet their goal for this year despite finding a new location and head boxing coach.
“We don’t really have a set dollar amount this year. It’s going to be a little bit different as we’re going in a different route organizing it, moving it on campus,” Anderson said. “We’re really trying to make it an event that we can sustain in the future.”
With three to four judges at the event, Anderson said there will be individual winners for their matches and a main event for people to watch.
“We’ve had some younger kids participate in these boxing organizations and in the community and in the area and then we work our way up to the main event” Anderson said.
Learning from mistakes
Jody Harnois, former boxing coach for TKE fight night, stopped coaching the event after 34 years due to scheduling conflicts.
Jimmy Burma, a sophomore marketing major and philanthropy chairman of TKE, took on the responsibility of running the event this year. He said he wanted to get involved with TKE Fight Night to “get his name out there” for planning events in Vermillion.
“I’ve never been involved in (the event and) last year we did not have it, but it meant a lot to me,” Burma said. “I thought this would be a cool thing, especially being a marketing major, it’d be cool to start planning events.”
Burma said TKE thanks Harnois for what he provided them in the past.
“I met with (Harnois) face-to-face, had a good talk with him. We thank him for everything that he has done,” Burma said. “We figured after this year that we would like to do it on our own and show that we were capable of doing that.”
Another issue from previous years was trying to accommodate to fighters Burma said. Practices are currently held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Wellness Center room 113 and interested students are encouraged to attend.
“We’re trying to accommodate for the students as much as we can because that was one of the problems of recent past,” Burma said. “Students (have) tests going on, they have other stuff so we’re trying to make it where they can get enough practice but they can also be a student and a kid at the same time.”
One aspect of liability that Burma oversaw was charging boxers a $65 fee through USA Boxing for insurance purposes as well as meeting with head coach of the event, Gregory Huckabee, associate professor of business law.
After last year’s fight was cancelled, Anderson said it takes a dedicated person to plan the event.
“Jimmy (Burma) has been able to take it on and do so much (planning). It takes a person that wants to take on that weight and spearhead that charge of planning the event,” Anderson said.
Burma said TKE has found a ring to give to the fight’s winner, and he’s still working on T-shirt designs and sponsorships for marketing purposes.
“We just found a ring, so now we’re going to start marketing,” Burma said. “So it’s for sure going to happen, now it’s just fighters and we have to market.”
Huckabee said Burma and Anderson came to him early in the fall to ask for help planning the event and wanted to start pushing recruiting boxers. Huckabee said he’s always volunteered to be an official as a member of the U.S. Boxing Association and its ethics committee.
“I knew some (TKEs) from class and I have helped with (the event) in the past,” Huckabee said. “I have been here 14 years and I have been an official for TKE fight night for seven, eight years.”
Huckabee said he’s helping revise the event because it’s a good learning experience for students to gain business skills.
“Students get to practice business by actually doing marketing, recruiting, financing, fundraising and so forth,” he said.
Huckabee said student involvement at the event will be exciting.
“We will try and have exciting matches with the students,” he said. “When they got people against each other, then it creates an element of competition where people are hootin’ and hollering about it.”