Gary Beemer wishes his school had a football practice facility like the one used by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The husky, wide-eyed Newsome High student walked into the locker room at One Buc Place on a recent Wednesday, ready to learn how the big dogs play.
Amid the television cameras, reporters toting tape recorders and players being interviewed, Beemer's priority wasn't the Bucs. He came to see members of the media work their craft.
Their skills intrigued him.
"The interviewing style was a lot more laid back than I thought," said the 16-year-old. "Reporters were just talking, not that stereotypical yelling, annoying reporting that you would expect."
Beemer is one of 10 high school students to win the "Work With the Buccaneers" contest. The new program that gives students interested in public relations, broadcast or print journalism a chance to work with the Buccaneer public relations department and local media. Participants attended a weekday open locker room session, toured the media facilities at Raymond James Stadium on game day and watched warmups and a home game.
Danica Trevarthan of Valrico had her day with the Bucs in September. She entered the contest thinking it would be a unique experience.
"It helped me to see what really goes on in a sports writer's day," said the Blake High student newspaper editor. "I got to go behind the scenes and see things that most fans don't get to see and it helped me understand the interworking of a public relations department."
Beemer, who is editor of his school newspaper and an offensive tackle for the football team, appreciated his experience on both sides of the field.
He said the experience gave him more confidence in reporting and encouraged him to feel more comfortable when talking to the rich and famous. After watching some of the players on the field, he has become secure with his football skills as he looks toward playing in college.
"I thought the program was outstanding," said Beemer's father, Gary Beemer Sr. "For any professional sport to take the time out to do that, is a really great thing."
This is the first year the Buccaneer staff has held the contest. Winners were teamed with a local media person in their field of interest to get the full experience. The Bucs have deemed the program a success and plan to continue it.
"It's a great age for them to start out," said Jeff Kamis, director of Bucs public relations. "And what better way to expose them than with the people who are actually involved."
Meaghan Forbes can be reached at 661-2439 or mforbessptimes.com.