Rotary Wheel

April 23, 2013


From the 4/16/13 meeting:



President Chris Nelson let us know that our corporate member was approved with three participants from that company.  Our membership now stands at 73 and we are well on our way to our goal of 80 by June. 



Russ Ver Ploeg shared with us that he was celebrating the TEN year anniversary of his architectural company!  Congratulations Russ! 


District Conference:

At the recently held District 6000 Conference, our West Des Moines Rotary Club was acknowledged for years of service to the district for the RYLA project.  Last year was our final year has host club.  The event is now transferring back to the district and/or another Rotary Club.  In addition, the shoe project for poor children in Africa was a huge success with over 3,200 pairs of shoes and over $7,400 in cash donations.  Shoes are approximately $15/pair so this will have a tremendous impact on the lives of many.  Harold Hulleman explained that shoes are a big impact on health for the people there.  Organisms in the soil create health issues and the shoes are a protective barrier from these. 


Bicycle Project:

Thanks to those who helped with the bicycle give-away at Hillside School last week.  If you can assist with the next one or would like to help with bicycle repair, please let Harold Hulleman know.


Farmers Market:

We will receive training at our meeting on 4/23 when we all meet at Johnny’s Hall of Fame in the Court Avenue District, Des Moines.  Each member of our club is needed to make this project a success. 


I-235 Spring Clean Up

Adam Nelson could use your help with this event scheduled for May 4, 2013 (weather permitting).  If you can assist that morning, please let Adam know and he can provide details regarding where to meet & the time.  It will be in the morning and typically takes a few hours depending on the number of Rotarians/family/friends that are helping.



Our speaker was Scott Helverson.  Mr. Helverson was a Des Moines East graduate and went on to play football for Hayden Fry at the University of Iowa.  He played in two Rose Bowls.  After college, he stayed active with football by trying out for a professional team (the Steelers) but did not enjoy that experience.  He then worked for David Carlson’s company for a period of time when we was becoming more active in what would eventually become his career (a football official).  He officiated with little league, Dowling Catholic League, 4A high school, Iowa Conference, Big 10, various bowl games, Arena Football, NFL Europe, and eventually the NFL.  He has now been in the NFL for 10 years and officiated in 2 Super Bowls to date.  At present, the officials are in a “dead period” until May 15.  At that time, testing begins (written & video).  Clinics commence in July followed by mini-camps with NFL teams.  Preseason games start August 1 followed by the regular season.  Preseason consists of 4 games while the regular season consists of 16 games over 17 weeks.  A typical game routine calls for him to leave Des Moines on a Saturday morning, arrive at the host stadium around noon on Saturday for meetings with dinner to follow with the crew of officials for the upcoming game.  On the Sunday morning of the game, the officials typically arrive at the stadium about 3 hours early to meet with security staff and the chain gang.  The Monday after the game they review the television game tape to critique themselves.  On the Tuesday after the game, they receive the coach’s tape and a preliminary grades from the NFL day for the crew and individually.  Their scores, when compiled throughout the season, will determine if they receive playoff and Super Bowl assignments. 


During the Q&A after his discussion, some new or recent rules changes were discussed. 

-          Helmet rule.  This rule will now also apply to offensive players who lead with their helmet in the event of a collision/tackle.  He stated this would be more difficult to officiate but would improve safety.  The rule will only apply when the players are “outside of the tackles”.

-          Instant Replay.  Initially was not in favor of it but now is.  The reason is they all want to get the calls right and this helps greatly with that. 

-          To be selected for a Super Bowl, the official must be almost perfect in their grades from the NFL.  Per Mr. Helverson, an official can only have 1-2 downgrades out of about 2,500 plays in total to be selected.

-          The earliest he recommends youth to commence tackle football is in the 6th or 7th grade.

-          Memorable comments from a coach or player:  Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears apparently gave him a hard time and Jon Gruden (former coach) was quite colorful in his language at times.