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Football features Dirty 30 in Vernon

Kalamalka Bowl guest of honour Jim Young
Jim Young, Dirty 30, will be a guest of honour at the first Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl Aug. 24 in Vernon. (CFL photo)

To B.C. Lions and Canadian Football League fans, Jim Young is one of the all-time greatest players.

After leaving noted Westdale High School in his native Hamilton, Ont. – the same school that produced CFL Hall of Fame legend Russ Jackson – Young took his considerable talents to the Canadian university football ranks.

Young and fellow Lions alumni, centre Jamie Taras, and the man Taras tutored for his position, Vernon’s Angus Reid, will be guests of honour at the first Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl Canadian U-Sports exhibition football game between the UBC Thunderbirds and the University of Calgary Dinos Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Greater Vernon Athletic Park. Game time is 7 p.m.

“I think it will be a great game,” said Young, 79, now living in Armstrong with his wife, Kari.

Known as Dirty 30 for his work ethic and for being one of the toughest players to ever suit up for the Lions, Young was the heart and soul of the CFL club from 1967 to 1979.

Prior to turning professional, he accepted a scholarship to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., where he was an all-star running back in each of his three seasons with the Golden Gaels. In 1963, Young played on both the offensive and defensive teams.

He was a sought after commodity at the end of his college career, and was drafted first overall by the Toronto Argonauts. However, when the Argos wouldn’t meet his contract demands, Young accepted an offer from the Minnesota Vikings and caught on to play two seasons for the NFL club.

The Lions traded to obtain the rights to Young from the Toronto Argonauts, who held his Canadian rights. They traded those rights to B.C. for Dick Fouts and Bill Symons, and then the Vikings dealt Young to Vancouver for another Lions legend, quarterback Joe Kapp.

The number on his jersey and his aggressive style of play quickly earned him the nickname Dirty 30. Despite a huge list of of injuries, which included a ripped kneecap, a dislocated shoulder, a hernia, and countless sutures, Young made no effort to change the way he played the game. Young was so tough and durable that he missed just three games in his entire 13 year football career.

Young retired from the field in 1979 after 12 seasons with the Lions, over the course of which he had 522 pass receptions for 9,248 yards and 65 touchdowns.

He later tried his hand at coaching, working the university sidelines with the Simon Fraser Clan.

“I always enjoyed football at that level,” said Young. “I’ve got a few little trophies from the annual Shrum Bowl (SFU vs UBC).”

Young was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1991, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and is on the B.C. Lions’ Wall of Fame inside B.C. Place. He is a two-time Schenley Award winner as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian (1970, 72).

Young was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL’s top 50 players of the league’s modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

The Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl is the first CIS U-Sports exhibition game to be played in the North Okanagan.

A special Huddle in the Park feature will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Polson Park. It’s a free, family event that will feature players and coaches from both teams for a meet-and-greet, a live concert from popular Vernon band Cod Gone Wild from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and a concession operated by Silver Star Rotary.

Tickets are still available for the game at

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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