Ray-Pec to wear special uniforms
By Cole Young PrepsKC staff writer
Chris Barnes may not be to the level of Nike founder Phil Knight or Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, but his affinity for Raymore-Peculiar could be considered similar to Knight’s fondness of Oregon or Plank’s for Maryland.
Barnes, the president of Siege Athletics and Ray-Pec alum, will roll out the first special uniforms for the Panthers on Sept. 21 in a home game against Lee’s Summit.
“Our kids really are excited about it and that’s what the high school experience is all about,” head coach Tom Kruse said of wearing a special uniform for one game. “It’s going to be fun, we’re all looking forward to it.”
The uniforms, called the Siege Athletics Warhead, are an urban camouflage look for both the jersey’s and pants. While many colleges have gone with a camouflage jersey for a military appreciation game, few if any have used a camouflage print on the pants as well.
The uniforms, which the Panthers will wear for just one game, are unlike any uniform other local teams have worn.
“What we are going for is to bring the college experience to high school level,” Barnes said. “The way they dress the way, they take the field, the way the fans look, think of it almost as an SEC environment. Then, we wanted to take it further. We wanted to push the envelope in the way the uniform looks.”
The uniforms are a tighter fit than most other uniforms, lighter than most and are made of a four-way stretch material.
The ultimate goal of Barnes and Siege Athletics is to get into the uniform business on a nationwide level. It begins Friday though with this set of football uniforms. The group also owns Jerry’s Sports Shop, which they purchased on March 31. Between the two separate companies, it’s the goal of Barnes to try and reach as many teams as possible, giving them an alternative to the standard look of their opponents.
“Turn on the TV and everyone wears the same stuff,” Barnes said. “Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, it all looks the same. No one wants to look the same, they want different things and that is where I came in. We do different things from the feel, to the look, to the design.”
After meeting with Barnes for the first time, Kruse was quick to see Barnes’ excitement and willingness to help Ray-Pec.
The relationship began with the home opener which was termed a “blackout” game, where Siege sold special shirts for the game through the booster club.
“We started with a simple blackout game and we came out and the entire stadium was black,” Kruse said. “People here eat those kinds of things up. Working with them has been great and I know it’s been a big help to the booster club and getting our apparel out there. When he came with this opportunity to try a camo game I was a little hesitant but once he sent me the design I thought ‘I kind of like this.’”
For Barnes it’s a chance to help out his old high school and also get his product noticed around the metro area. Moreover, he’s hopeful that company’s product can help teams once they take the field
“What I’ve noticed is teams ask ‘How can we differentiate ourselves from our competitors. How can I come up with something that my kids can get excited about.’” Barnes said. “…When these kids take the field I want them to have a competitive advantage by the way they look.”
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