Dressed in his signature Hawaiian shirt, WFAA-TV’s Dale Hansen entertained the crowd between takes as they created the television commercial to launch the inaugural Dale Hansen Football Classic to be held Sept. 7-8 at WISD’s Lumpkins Stadium.

The upcoming event will feature six teams ranging from UIL 1-A to 3-A teams that will face off in Lumpkins Stadium located on the Waxahachie High School campus.

Cheerleaders and mascots from Italy, Malakoff, Thrall, Florence, Alvarado and Mexia were invited to take part in the commercial.

The title sponsors Chic-fil-A, H-E-B Grocery and City Credit Union were also included. WFAA-TV is also helping underwrite this event.

As the video crew settled in for the two-hour shoot, Hansen did some voiceover work in a more secluded part of the stadium, and then he headed over to join the group.

“Alright, let’s have some fun,” Hansen said. “I know it’s hot out here, but we can get this done, right?”

As the producer lined the group in a semi-circle around Hansen near the 50-yard line, she was careful to make sure the shot was balanced and appealing. With a few takes, and coaching by Hansen, the group knocked out the first part, which included the line “the spirit of Texas on Channel 8.”

Next, the mascots, which included the two larger than life sponsor mascots, found their places on the scrimmage line near the 20-yard marker. Hansen naturally stepped up to the quarterback position. His team line-up included a black cat, a gladiator, two tigers, a buffalo, an Indian, the Chic-fil-A cow and H-E-B Buddy.         

As the group readied, Hansen had some baubles with the center hiking the ball, and there were several references made about this being compared to a Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo moment. Then the running back, which was the H-E-B mascot, Buddy experienced some technical difficulties as he tried to catch the ball. Not an easy feat for a life-size version of a paper grocery bag.

“I think it’s great when this doesn’t come off perfect,” Hansen said. “It’s more fun, and it will come off better that way. And, you know I have to act like this football is a baseball. I only played one year of football, and I was horrible, just horrible. But football is my favorite sport, and I enjoy high school football more than any other sport. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t very good at it.”   

Sideline spectators

One of the spectators in the crowd watching the shoot come to life was Waxahachie Independent School District Superintendent Tom Collins.

“It’s great to see all of those we’ve invited to be a part of this promotion,” Collins said. “We’re terribly excited about this, and we can’t wait to see it all happen right here in Waxahachie.”

Nicole Mansell, public relations director for WISD, worked closely with the producer as the commercial continued.

“I am extremely pleased to see this shoot coming together like this,” Mansell said. “The cheerleaders, the mascots, the sponsors and of course Mr. Hansen are all so organized. I am also especially thankful for WFAA-TV spending two hours to make this commercial possible.”

Mansell added that it’s amazing to see how everyone was on board with this vision.

“This will be Texas high school football at its finest, and we’re inviting people from all over this area to come out and enjoy that weekend,” Mansell said. “There is nothing better than a community coming together to support games like this, and we hope all of you will join us.”

Philip Browne, owner and operator of the Waxahachie Chic-fil-A, said it’s those exact sentiments that attracted him to sponsor this event.

“I’ve been looking for years for an event that we can partner with like this,” Browne said. “This will bring business to our city, and it will be a great annual event that enables us to work with our community.”

H-E-B Grocery’s Administrative Assistant Elizabeth Stripland, was also in agreement with these observations.

“We have tried to dig deep roots here in our community,” Stripland said. “We like being part of the games like this. We love to help the kids, and this is the perfect way to do it.”

And, City Credit Union President and CEO Sharon Moore said it was especially the community spirit that this type of event represents that was the attraction.

“We’ve been in the Waxahachie community for a long time, and this fits very well with our cornerstone, which is financial education,” Moore said. “So the ability to be able to combine with the school on this sort of thing was very natural for us.”  

As the commercial wound down, Hansen shared a few more of his booming laughs and as he readied to leave, he shared his thoughts on why he wanted to be part of this sort of event.

“I know we don’t know what to expect since this is the first year for this event, but I think it will be pretty popular,” Hansen said. “High school football, especially that of a small town variety, well, I’ve always been a fan. When you shut down the whole town to go watch your kids, I think that’s great. And, I think that’s what we’re trying to do with teams like Alvarado, Malakoff, Italy and Mexia. Sure it’s a little scary to start something for the first time, but high school football and me, how could we miss.”   

 He also added why Waxahachie has such a special part in his heart.

“I love Waxahachie,” Hansen said. “As my dad said to me a long time ago, ‘I listened to you complain about living in a small, rural town because you always said you wanted to live in the big city.’

“Then after I moved to the big city of Dallas several years ago, then my dad said, ‘you spend all of your money trying to move back into the rural area,” Hansen said. “We wanted some land and that small town feel. I wanted to go to the bank where everyone knew me, and I wanted to go to the gas station where everyone for the most part knew me.”

Hansen went on to explain that Waxahachie is country living at its best.

“While it may not have everything I need, it’s about 20 miles to find it,” Hansen said. “And, what I really wanted was that quiet, country living, and that’s what I absolutely love. It’s the best of both worlds.”


Game details

The game roster for the two nights includes the following:

Sept. 7, Friday, 7:30 p.m. – Italy Gladiators vs. Malakoff Tigers

Sept. 8, Saturday, 4 p.m. – Thrall Tigers vs. Florence Buffalos, then at 7:30 p.m. Alvarado Indians vs. Mexia Blackcats

To get more information, which includes ticket prices, go to www.dalehansenfootballclassic.com or to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dalehansenfootballclassic. There will be a classic pass available for all of the two days of games for $10.

Follow Collen on Facebook at www.facebook.com/colleenhorningwdl or contact her at 469-517-1452 or colleen.horning@wninews.com