The sun was shining, and the turf was hot as NFL Pro-Bowler Jeffery Simmons presented the City of Starkville Parks & Recreation Department with a check for $75,000. On July 8, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Starkville Sportsplex's new, multi-purpose turf field, which will henceforth be named the Jeffery Simmons Turf Field. This sponsorship agreement states that Simmons will host his annual football camp for kids at the Starkville Sportsplex at no charge or the next 10 years. Starkville has invested over $1 million in the multi-purpose field, where the crowd in attendance celebrated the sponsorship with Simmons.
Jeffery Simmons, originally from neighboring Noxubee County, attended Mississippi State University; his passion for the project directly results from his close ties with the area. The former MSU Bulldog is currently a defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans. The Jeffery Simmons Turf Field will be used to host football, soccer, and other events at the Starkville Sportsplex. The field will also host multiple sports tourism events annually, such as regional tournaments and showcases. Usage of the turf field is currently available by reservation.
When asked how he felt about this sponsorship opportunity, Jeffery Simmons said, “It’s all about the community. My coming back and giving back shows these kids that I haven’t forgotten where I grew up or played football in college. I’m excited to keep putting my time into Noxubee and Starkville. This is just the beginning.”
In orchestrating the camp, Starkville Parks & Recreation strengthened current relationships and created new avenues for partnerships with local business owners in town. The sponsorship agreement also allowed a few members of the Starkville business community to tout their services on a larger scale. Bully Balloons and More set the stage for the ribbon-cutting ceremony with the vibrant Parks & Recreation-branded decor, adding a nice touch to the signage and other displays provided by Gentry Signs, The Welding Works, and Copy Cow. Godfather’s Pizza, T&C Ice Company, and Clark Beverage Company were instrumental in keeping the campers nourished and hydrated. Sports Specialty, Inc. provided memorabilia as a gift to commemorate the sponsorship.
Starkville Parks & Recreation General Manager Brandon Doherty said, “Jeffery is a class act, and it has been a joy working with him and his team. The turf field is only the tip of the iceberg for our collaboration, and we have many other exciting things planned in the future. We look forward to maintaining our momentum with each other and other local businesses as we continue to enhance the experience for children in Starkville and the surrounding areas.”