Rocky Bleier To Headline Kickoff Luncheon Dec. 21

Former Pittsburgh Steeler And Honored Veteran Highlights Annual Event


LAS VEGAS - This year's featured speaker at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Kickoff Luncheon on Wednesday December 21 is former NFL running back and war veteran Rocky Bleier.

Tickets to the luncheon are $50 each and are available to the public by calling the bowl office at (702) 732-3912. The 20th edition of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas on Dec. 22 will feature Boise State vs. Arizona State starting at 5 p.m. PT at Sam Boyd Stadium. Tickets are available by logging on to www.maacobowllv.com.

The Kickoff Luncheon, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, begins at noon PT. Aside from both teams, officials, mascots, cheerleaders and marching bands, the event will feature the induction of the inaugural class to the newly formed Las Vegas Bowl Hall of Fame: John Robinson (Coach), Steven Jackson (Player), Anthony Calvillo (Player) and Rossi Ralenkotter (Founding Father). All but Jackson, who currently plays for the NFL's St. Louis Rams, are scheduled to appear at the luncheon.

A native of Appleton, Wisc., Bleier went on to graduate from Notre Dame, where he was a member of the 1966 National Champion squad and was voted a team captain for the Irish as a senior in 1967. After spending his rookie year with the Steelers, Bleier was drafted again -- this time by the U.S. Army -- and soon saw combat in Vietnam. He was seriously injured by both rifle fire and grenade fragments in his leg when his platoon was ambushed. However, one year later he was back in camp with Pittsburgh and eventually worked his way back into playing shape. He went on to appear in four Super Bowls, including catching a touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw in Super Bowl XIII. In 1976 he rushed for 1,036 yards and five touchdowns while playing alongside featured back Franco Harris.

Bleier retired in 1980 after compiling 3,865 yards rushing. His life story led to the a popular book Fighting Back and an ABC-TV movie with the same name that starred Robert Urich in the title role. Now a resident of Pennsylvania, Bleier is a sought-after motivational speaker.