Two Tulare dairymen are traveling to Minnesota this week to participate in the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl. Partaking of the Super Bowl hoopla there – Land O’Lakes thought it an exciting idea to “inspire the next generation of young leaders to consider careers in food and agriculture,” said Grace Fair, media contact for the Bowl.
Teams are comprised of one dairyman and a professional football player. Dave Ribeiro of Rib Arrow Dairy, and JJ Nunes of Nunes and Sons Dairy are participating, representing Tulare County’s dairy industry in the event. Ribeiro is teamed up with Jason Brown, a former center for the St. Louis Rams. Nunes is partnered with Golden Tate, wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.
Ribeiro, 56, is a third-generation dairy farmer. He was asked to participate by Land O’Lakes as his dairy sells their milk to the company. He learned he was to participate around the first of January.
“The first thing I felt was anxiety,” he said. “It’s on a national stage!”
Once he got over his nerves, he started a bit of training, although he always tries to stay in shape. He was not big into athletics in school, but has always been physically active on the dairy. An Ag major at Fresno State, he minored in music, he said, playing the drums and percussion.
“I had to remind myself what it’s like to run. I think all of us [the participants] have upped our game a little bit.”
Ribeiro hopes that experience and intellect will help in the competition.
“Sometimes wisdom and treachery trump youth and skills,” he said.
Ribeiro will meet his teammate, Brown, the day of the event. They will have a chance to walk the course and then to strategize.
“That what it’s all about,” he said, “working as a team.”
“As part of its Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee programming, Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl will showcase the intricacies and challenges of modern agriculture, testing the skills of professional football players on the farm,” Fair said.
It’s a “series of on-farm experiences and light-hearted farm-themed challenges to demonstrate the skill, determination and grit required to succeed as a farmer today,” she said. Teams will compete four challenges exemplifying the core principles of football mixed with modern farming – strength, endurance, intelligence and coordination. Challenges include a course of hay bales, drones, mile pipes and tractor tires. The top two teams will compete to win the newly designed Farm Bowl Trophy for the first-ever competition of this event.
“Super Bowl LII offers an exciting stage to convey the importance of farming to feeding the world, and to show how Land O’Lakes’ member owners are impacting the entire food chain, farm to fork, from our iconic butter brand and far beyond,” said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Less than two percent of the population touches farming and, as the voice of the farmer, we feel an obligation to tell their important story.”
The Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl takes place Thursday, Feb. 1 at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Watch the event streamed live starting at 11am PST – https://www.facebook.com/events/197579660803968/