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College football’s most famous walk-on, Rudy Reuttiger, was on hand this week to celebrate the continued success of Tucson’s own bowl game.

Made famous by the 1993 movie “Rudy,” Ruettiger faced an excited crowd of Tucson movers and shakers at the Tucson Convention Center Oct. 10 for the NOVA Home Loans kickoff luncheon. Joining Ruettiger were current executive director Kym Adair and her predecessor, Ali Farhang. 

Adair ran down a laundry list of causes the bowl game has supported during its first three games. Of note was the bowl’s donation of 13,000 tickets to service members at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, as well as more than $100 million in economic impact for the city and $3.5 million in donations to local charities. 

Adair challenged the crowd to pack Arizona Stadium on New Year’s Eve, adding that 100 percent of event proceeds go towards charity.

“We could give almost $1 million to charity, if we sell out Arizona Stadium,” she said. “That would be awesome.”

Farhang’s reiterated how far the exhibition has come since its inception in 2015.

“Just in five years, from where we started, to where we are now, and where we're going—it is a testament to the greatness of this community,” Farhang said.

Farhang, who now serves as the bowl’s chairman, turned the stage over to Ruettiger, who has made a nice second career as a public speaker after the popularity of the movie he spun off.

Ruettiger described his speaking career as centered on the positivity that comes from keeping a positive worldview and working well with others.

He’s hopeful that people that listen to him can use his life’s story to get them through their own personal struggles.

“It's all about hope,” he said. “You know, hope is a key to it and determination of course and unity. And what we learn from what we do as people or organizations, sports, goes on and on. It leads into our later life and to what we are doing. So, it's all important.”

The 2019 bowl game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. local time on Dec. 31. CBS Sports Network will air the contest live.

For more information on the bowl game, visit the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl website, at novaarizonabowl.com.

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