K-State to Host Operation Santa Claus at Upcoming Basketball Games

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Courtesy of K-State Sports Information

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State athletics department will accept toy donations for Fort Riley’s Operation Santa Claus at a pair of upcoming basketball games. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys or gift cards to the men’s basketball game vs. Georgia State at 7 p.m., this Saturday, December 15 or prior to the women’s basketball game vs. Central Arkansas at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 20.

In exchange for the toy donation, fans will be able purchase a single-game ticket for just $5 to the men’s game or a $3 ticket to the women’s game.

Celebrating its 34th year, Fort Riley’s Operation Santa Claus helps service members and their families provide gifts to their children during the holiday season. All donations will go towards a Fort Riley Soldier, especially to families under financial constraints and families of deployed, fallen, or injured Soldiers.

“It helps brighten the holiday season for Soldiers and their families,” said Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Ferguson, head elf for Operation Santa Claus. “Everybody has an upbeat attitude about it, so it’s just a great program.”

Donations of new, unwrapped toys valued in the $15 – $20 price range for children ages birth to 18 years are being accepted.

K-State is also offering a $20 Get-a-Bear/Give-a-Bear ticket package for the Dec. 20 women’s game. The package includes a general admission ticket and the opportunity to make two stuffed bears, one to keep and one to donate in the Teddy Bear Toss for Operation Santa Claus.

Fans have several other opportunities to take advantage of ticket offers during the holidays.

A Holiday Mini Plan is available for $25 and includes a general admission ticket to both the men’s game vs. George Mason and the women’s game vs. Northern Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 29, along with the men’s Big 12 home opener against Texas on Wednesday, Jan. 2. All three games are included in the mini plan for just $25 per package. In addition, several Bramlage Bundles are available for upcoming home men’s games. The package includes a bench/general admission ticket, a $10 concessions voucher and a souvenir from the K-State Super Store.

These ticket options can be purchased through the Athletics Ticket Office by calling toll free at (800) 221-CATS (2287), by logging in online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets and in-person at Bramlage Coliseum.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.