Scott Anderson, spokesman, said "The history of the Ruff Riders actually began in Katy, Texas in 2007 and later moved to Abilene in 2009. The team has continued to use the same name carried over from Katy for 4 years now, which was a name it came to town with, not a name Abilene and the community created. Our plan is for Abilene, our fans and the community to have the opportunity to be involved in the name and look of the Franchise. Simply put, we want to give Abilene the opportunity to make this team its own! It is our belief that this process will further the owners goal of being closer to the community and its values. We are seeking input from the community on what they want the team to be and this is an open book to let Abilene have its say on the future look of the team."
The Abilene Ruff Riders will be conducting an online naming contest beginning Wednesday, July 18 and ending sometime in August. Any and all are encouraged to go to and submit your proposed name for the team. The Ruff Riders are also asking for mascot concepts and mascot name to be proposed with the team names. The form for the submission is on the website, but you can submit email entries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Owners will select the new name and mascot from the submitted entries. "We have not made the decision how we will select the top submission, but it is possible that we will take the top two or three ideas and ask our fans to tell us what they like best," said Randy Sanders, co-owner. The final selection will be unveiled at a press conference in August. The winning submission will receive 4 complimentary season VIP tickets for the 2013 season, 4 t-shirts and other goodies. The new name, colors, mascot and ticket packages for next season will also be announced at the press conference. "It is our intention, by getting the community involved in the process of re-branding the team, Abilene will begin to see this organization as its own and become involved in the team on a more personal basis." said Scott Anderson, spokesman.
The Abilene Ruff Riders recently completed the 2012 season with a heartbreaking 37-38 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Magic on a long field goal with no time left. The game cost the Ruff Riders a playoff spot in the Lone Star Football League. The Magic will be playing in the Lone Star Shootout Championship this weekend against the Amarillo Venom in San Angelo on July 21st at 7pm.
The Ruff Riders saw significant improvements on the field under first year head coach Joe Brannen. The Ruff Riders ended the year at 5-8(4-6 officially), with 3 losses by 1 point and 5 losses overall by a touchdown or less. The history of the Ruff Riders has been a rocky road, with limited success while playing in Katy for a couple of seasons. In the first year in Abilene, 2009, the team was 8-6 with a playoff appearance. In 2010 and 2011, the Ruff Riders were 2-12 and 3-9, respectively with few games closely played. "We were not a very competitive football team and we endured several lopsided losses in the first two years we were involved. We as owners are very competitive and the close games this year have been hard to endure. The players this year were very involved in the community and did a great job off the field. They were so close to having huge success on the field this year. Next year when this franchise turns into a championship caliber type of organization we will look back and realize that the groundwork and foundation began in 2012. Joe did a great job this year getting our guys to play hard and give good effort. He assembled a great wealth of talent defensively and ended the season with one of the better defenses in the league. Unfortunately, we were hit regularly with the injury bug on offense which created consistency issues throughout the season. The owners were overall pleased with Joe's first year and see great things happening in 2013. For the first time in a long while the Ruff Riders were competitive and played a lot of close games that could have gone either way. Had any of those games gone the other way we would have been in the playoffs this year! Joe will make us a Championship caliber team and will also give us consistent leadership on and off the field for the first time," said Jerry Anderson, co-owner. "The Lone Star Football League (LSFL) allows teams to have rights to re-sign players after the season, and unlike prior leagues, we have a time period, right now to re-sign the players we want to come back in 2013. I am happy to say that most of our players we are targeting have already re-signed for next year and we are going to have a core group of guys coming back for the 2013 campaign. We were rookie heavy in 2012 and with a year under their belt for many of these players and for Joe, we believe this team will only get better. We also are looking forward to getting key players that were injured this season back next year. I firmly believe that next year could be one of the best teams Abilene has put on the field," said Derek Hood, co-owner. The Ruff Riders also had a great season off the field and are getting more involved in the community, as well as looking for local talent like never before. "We found some great local talent this year in Josh Conner from an open tryout. We will be holding more open tryouts in the Abilene area throughout the off-season and working to create relationships with the local Universities to cultivate players that can help our team be successful. Abilene is the perfect place for a franchise and with the support of the business community and the support of the citizens in Abilene this can be a great franchise that Abilene can call its own. This has been a long process for the owners of re-shaping the Organization and I believe that they are taking things in the right direction towards success on the field and implementing the right policies to earn more support and give Abilene a good affordable family friendly entertainment option for years to come," said Joe Brannen, Head Coach.
The Ruff Riders Franchise will be entering its 5th season in Abilene and is the most successful professional sports franchise of the modern era in Abilene Texas, in terms of longevity and commitment to the community. The Organization is also the only professional sports franchise that is or has been locally owned and operated.
The Ruff Riders are looking forward to the off-season and planning for the 2013 campaign. Season ticket packages will go on-sale August 15th with discounts, financing and other options available to take advantage of if you get yours before October 1st. The Ruff Riders are also looking for sponsors for the 2013 season and some new and exciting opportunities will be announced in the next few months. Representatives of the Organization will be making the rounds in the coming months asking for the support of the business community. "We would also like to personally thank each and every Sponsor for your support this past year," said Ken Castleman, co-owner.
New name, new colors and new organization! You don't want to miss out on the action in 2013!
Go "insert the name you want here!"