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INDOOR FOOTBALL

League stepping in to help Marshals amid Pick Six scandal

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New Marshal's Logo.jpg (copy)

The Rapid City Marshals team name and logo is announced at a Sept. 3, 2021 press conference at Main Street Square.

The Champions Indoor Football League is taking over daily operations of the Rapid City Marshals and Billings Outlaws until new ownership takes effect.

CIF commissioner J.R. Bond announced the change in a statement Wednesday morning.

“The CIF believes in both markets,” Bond said in the statement. “The fans and corporate partners in both Billings and Rapid City have shown they want indoor football. We will assign full time personnel to both markets to do a full accounting of the operations and to identify and vet new ownership for each team.”

The statement continued to reassure fans that Billings and Rapid City can expect indoor football to return for the 2023 season.

“The league is not willing to allow the great fans in Rapid City to lose their team,” Bond said. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure indoor football is played in Rapid City for years to come.”

The announcement comes a day after the Journal revealed Keith Russ and Pick Six entertainment left bills for the Marshals team hotel and wages unpaid over the last several weeks. The unpaid bills led a Rapid City hotel to remove the team from its temporary home last Thursday.

Bond said the CIF will conduct a comprehensive audit of expenditures and financial contracts.

“We are putting personnel on the ground and will have a conversation with Wes (Johnson) about how he wants to be involved,” Bond told the Journal. “We are going to do a full financial accounting of everything and get to the bottom of everything that is going on.”

Johnson, who is in the process of acquiring the Marshals, said he welcomes the league’s financial audit.

“The league understands that the community wants the organization,” Johnson said. “They want to support us and make sure we are able to make sure the transition goes smoothly. We are still in the application process with the league but they are working to expedite that right now.”

Russ and Pick Six are not the first indoor football team ownership group to cause a stir in the Black Hills with nefarious activity.

An indoor team that operated in Barnett Arena from 2000-2006 as the Rapid City Machine, Rapid City Red Dogs, Black Hills Red Dogs and Rapid City Flying Aces endured similar scandals. The fallout ultimately led to the team disbanding, and former owner Howard Weiner faced four months of prison time and five years of probation for bank fraud.

“I get it,” Bond said. “There have been teams come through the town and that led to this effort. When we first got wind of what was going on we wanted to get to the bottom of it and make sure there was good ownership on the ground there.”

Bond and Johnson are both confident in the future of the league’s involvement in Rapid City and Billings moving forward.

“Rapid City is a great market and has embraced the Marshals,” Bond said. “Attendance and corporate partners have been highly engaged and we know responsible ownership will make the team very successful.”

The Marshals return to action in their season finale on the road against the Sioux City Bandits at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in the Tyson Events Center.

Contact Alex Dodd at ADodd@rapidcityjournal.com

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