Wichita, KS (Oct. 7th) - Fresh off of their record setting playoff run in 2017-18, the Wichita Thunder begin their historic 27th season next weekend, facing off against the Idaho Steelheads on Friday, October 12th and the Allen Americans on Saturday, October 13th. The Thunder hope to retain the momentum of their winning season last year with an even deeper playoff run in the 2018-19 season.
Rodney Steven II, owner of Genesis Health Clubs and co-owner of the Thunder with his brothers Brandon and Johnny, will make accommodations to pack the house and do something for a very deserving family.
"We want to fill every seat," stated Steven II. "We're opening sections of the arena that are usually reserved for huge events like a Taylor Swift or Rolling Stones concert."
Brandon Steven, owner of the largest automotive dealership group in Kansas, commented on the Thunder's legacy.
"The Thunder are such a pillar of sports and entertainment in Wichita. There have been so many teams that have came and gone over the years, but the Thunder have been here all along. There aren't many businesses, let alone professional sports franchises that make it for 27 years in this day and age."
What started as a way to deal with increased demand quickly grew into something larger, and a philanthropic light bulb went off.
"At first, this was about finding a way to let more people experience opening weekend with the Thunder. We saw the potential to do something good for a family that has been through the unthinkable. Like everyone else in the community, we were devastated to learn about the passing of Deputy Kunze. We're going to donate the net proceeds of all the upper bowl sales directly to his family. Once we've reached our goal, this will be over $50,000."
Deputy Robert Kunze was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, September 16th. In his dying moments, he managed to save the lives of at least two other innocent bystanders. Deputy Kunze is survived by his wife and child.
Steven continued, sharing that the brothers were planning on adding a personal touch to make sure every seat in the area is filled.
"We're pulling out all of the stops. Rodney, Johnny and I are going up to the roof of the Wichita Ice Center Monday and Tuesday and we're calling every single business owner in this city until we're at 100% capacity and we've raised over $50,000 for Deputy Kunze's family. I don't think it's any secret we're all pretty competitive, so we're each taking 1/3 of the tickets and staying up there until we sell out our block. We'll be joined by the brave men and women of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department, who have generously offered to help."
Steven continued with determination, "We'll stay up there all week if we have to. There's rain in the forecast, but we've got our tents and rain gear ready to go. It may get uncomfortable, but it's really about coming together and raising as much as we possibly can."
"We've all been in the business community here in Wichita for so long that it feels like we know just about everyone, and we know that they're all looking for a way to help," stated Johnny Steven, owner of Eddy's Insurance Group. "I'm looking forward to getting on the phone and connecting with a few new entrepreneurs out there. We'll be inviting any of the business owners who buy a block of tickets for their employees to come up to our suite and network with us during the games. You never know when that next big partnership will be formed."
Rodney added, "However long it takes, it will be good for Wichita. Good for a family in need, good for kids and good for community spirit. There's nothing that unites a city quite like getting together and rooting on the home team. And Wichita has a great one in the Thunder."
The three brothers along with members of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Department can be seen on the roof of the Wichita Ice Center, downtown and visible from Kellogg Ave, starting at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning and remaining there until $50,000 is raised for Deputy Kunze's family and the additional tickets for Wichita Thunder opening weekend are completely sold out.
To purchase tickets for $10 each to support Deputy Kunze's family, click HERE to submit a ticket request for either game or call (316) 264-4625 starting Monday, October 8th.
Season tickets for the 2018-19 campaign are on sale now. Get your seats for just $15 per month. All it takes is a $1 down per seat to reserve yours today. To learn more, click here or contact a Thunder representative at the office today!
Follow along with us on our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter (@wichita_thunder), Snapchat (wichthunder), Instagram (Wichita_Thunder) and LinkedIn.