LIHUE — Olympian Chad Ikei’s appearance at the fun day hosted by the Kauai Pop Warner Football League was icing on the cake Saturday at the north Vidinha fields.
“Today, it’s all about the kids,” said KPWFL president Teddy Arroyo. “The coaches, staff, and all the players have been working hard since the season started Aug. 1. Today, we take care of them with free food, rides, and a chance for them to just have fun. They are the kings and queens today.”
Ikei, owner of Ikei Sports Hawaii, topped the roster of speakers that included the Kauai Police Department speaking on social media and cyber bullying before the young athletes were unleashed onto the field, where they were greeted by water slides, the inflatable zipline and other fun activities.
Ikei answered questions on becoming a better athlete through strong communication skills and mental focus in addition to preparing their bodies through strength and conditioning.
He was born and raised in Hawaii before leaving to pursue his dreams in Olympic weightlifting, where he set several U.S. Olympic records for his weight class. Using that experience, Ikei went on to develop his unique strength and conditioning programs.
KPWFL associations took advantage of the free food offering to the athletes to hone their skills for the upcoming Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair, which runs Aug. 24 through 27 at Vidinha Stadium. The KPWFL associations dispense food at the fair as one of their major fundraising efforts for the tackle football and cheer program.
“Koloa will have its roast pork,” said Sean Andrade, a coach with the Koloa Redskins. “And, you know Kekaha, they’ll have chicken — all kinds of chicken.”
Renee Kawakami, president of the Lihue Raiders, said the association will be doing its traditional malasada offering — with a twist.
Following the farm fair, KPWFL gets down to business.
“The Pop Warner Jamboree will take place from 8 a.m. on Sept. 2 at Vidinha Stadium,” said Bryan Aiwohi of the Kapaa Eagles. “We have the stadium so we’ll have our last games starting around 8 p.m.”
The following days, Sept. 3 and 4, are the annual JAMZ Cheer Camp from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
“A lot of the JAMZ campers have already registered with their associations,” said Mila Rapanot of the Kekaha Titans. “But we can still take walk-ins during the camp. Our island-wide cheer competition is Oct. 22 at the Bernice Hundley Gym on the Kapaa High School campus.”