The Toro Co. has partnered with the National Football League every year since 1967 to help the league prepare the field and practice facilities for the annual Super Bowl.
This year Bloomington-based Toro is bringing a Super Bowl rookie, Georgeanna Heitshusen, an Iowa State University horticulture major with an emphasis on turfgrass management, to help the Super Bowl grounds crew prepare the field for Super Bowl 50.
Heitshusen is the winner of the 2016 Toro Super Bowl Sports Turfgrass Training Program. Since 2003 Toro and the NFL have recognized a horticulture student for the program and the winners have worked alongside the Super Bowl grounds crew in preparing the field for the game.
"Having the chance to work alongside some of the most outstanding turfgrass professionals in the world is a great honor," Heitshusen said in a Toro news release."I'm absolutely thrilled and humbled that I have the opportunity to be on site for Super Bowl 50."
Heitshusen has been working this week with NFL field director Ed Mangan and the legendary 87-year old head groundskeeper George Toma, aka the Sodfather. Heitshusen has helped paint endzone logos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and with field preparation for media day and she will also help with halftime preparation and field clean-up.
Heitshusen is on track to graduate from Iowa State University in May of 2017. She has been a member of the grounds crew at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa and as an intern helped design and install a heated ribbon system for baseball and softball fields at Michigan State University.
Applicants for the training program must be enrolled in at least a two-year turfgrass program, or in at least the junior year of a four-year turfgrass program.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for young turfgrass professionals,” says Dale Getz, CSFM, sports fields and grounds sales manager at Toro. “Toro’s partnership with the NFL continues to provide great exposure for emerging professionals in the turfgrass industry."