PIQUA, Ohio – The Troy-Piqua rivalry is always intense, but 2016 is special. The 132nd renewal of the football rivalry marked a clash between two playoff-caliber teams. It was also the most intense US Bank/Community Blood Center Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drives in years with Piqua claiming the $1,000 prize by five votes.
The 19th Challenge was unique in that all four blood drives were held during rivalry week. Both high schools held blood drives Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Troy finished with a four-vote edge in registrations to donate. It was then up to the community to decide who would win the $1,000 prize from US Bank for their school.
Both US Bank blood drives were held on Thursday, Oct. 27 with two Bloodmobiles parked at each location. The skies were grey and the weather damp and breezy, but donors didn’t let it stop them. They hurried to the registration tables in the bank parking lots to sign-in and vote, then quickly climbed into the warmth of the Bloodmobiles to donate.
By the end of the day Piqua had tallied 98 “votes” to 89 for Troy. Combined with the high school results, Piqua claimed victory by the margin of 210 to 205. It means the Challenge trophy comes back to Piqua, and the series continues in Piqua’s favor 14-4-1.
The four blood drives totaled 414 donors, 141 first-time donors and 334 pints of blood donated.
US Bank Troy Manager Deborah Wildermuth presented the US Bank $1,000 award to Piqua Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson and to US Bank Piqua Manager Emily Shawler in the announcement ceremony prior to kick-off Friday night. Both brought along family members who helped them celebrate on the 50-yard line.
Deborah is a veteran of many Challenge blood drives, while Emily was just promoted to US Bank Piqua manager in September. Both were very motivated to see their branch claim victory, and they liked the idea of all blood drives taking place during rival week.
“I think it’s made it a little more competitive and more even,” said Deborah. “Rain or shine, there’s no advantage. Several people said they thought it was really good that we did it the same day because it makes it more exciting.”
Emily may be new to the job of branch manager and blood drive coordinator, but she is no stranger to the Troy-Piqua rivalry. “I’m Piqua born and raised!” she said. “I’m working for our guys here to vote Piqua!”
Emily worked her smart phone as she helped sign-in donors Thursday. Whenever a potential donor was deferred or an appointment went unfilled, she made the call.
“I had three or four people who hadn’t committed, so I called and said, ‘OK, what time?’” she said.
At the US Bank Troy blood drive John Wilson also stayed true to his school. “Both my son and daughter went to Troy,” he said. “I’m not a native – I’ve only been here 30 years! But I do what I can!”
It was an extra busy day of voting Thursday for Troy donor Tammy Kingery. She wore an “I Voted” sticker after early voting Thursday morning in the presidential election, and followed that up with her donation and vote for Troy.
“I was at the courthouse this morning, so I’m making the rounds,” Tammy said. “This is important, and if I can help with the schools (winning the $1,000 prize) that’s important too!”