The Bob Hayes Invitational track and field meet will lose its funding from the city in the mayor’s proposed budget, but likely won’t be going anywhere as the iconic event prepares to celebrate its golden anniversary next year. . . . The event at Raines High School received a grant of $84,875 from the city for the 2013 Bob Hayes to help with the costs associated with putting it on, and the city has donated more than $1 million to the event since 2002.
The Bob Hayes had 175 teams enter last season’s varsity meet and is billed as the largest one-day track and field event in the country. The 50th anniversary high school meet will be held March 14, 2014. . . . meet director James Day said that plans for the event won’t slow down even if it has to replace some or all of its budget previously provided by the city. . . . “The Bob Hayes Invitational is a very important part of our community, so we are committed to finding money to support the event and help it carry on the valuable opportunities it provides,” he said. . . . The event, named after NFL Hall of Famer and two-time Olympic gold medalist “Bullet” Bob Hayes, began in 1964 and was held at Northwestern High School on the Northside. It has been held at Raines since 1968.
This meet is definitely the highlight of North Florida HS T&F and has historically produced some of the most eye-popping (questionable winds notwithstanding) performances in the nation every March (our mid-season - everyone is just getting started). I've been a coach and offical there for 20 years now. It is indeed as much a social and cultural event as athletic. I'm sure we'll soldier on somehow.