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No. 18: The Legacy Carries On

UMW Sports Press Release:

Western Bulldog and Dillon Beaver football player M.J. Simkins, whose life

was tragically cut short prior to the start of his senior year, wore the number 18 with pride. The

number had tremendous significance because it showed his love for Dillon and Beaverhead

County, which is Montana county number 18. MJ wore the no. 18 for three seasons 2014 to

2016. His brother Nathan carried forward the tradition and values of the no. 18 throughout his

epic Bulldog career (2017-2021). Last season, the number 18 became a legacy number for the

Bulldog Football team.

The number was and will be given to a senior student-athlete who represents the spirit and values of M.J. and what Bulldog Football is all about. Reese Neville was first honored with wearing the No. 18 jersey following Nate. Now, for the 2023 season, it has been awarded to senior linebacker Kameron Rauser.

"I am honored to be chosen to wear the legacy number 18 for the 2023 season. The number 18 is much more than a number. It represents leadership, character, courage, heart, and respect. All of which embody the man MJ was. I have always strived to be a leader on and off the field. Getting the opportunity to wear the number 18 has made my duties as a student-athlete, teammate, and friend that much more symbolic." Kameron Rauser commented.

Rauser, an upcoming senior on the 2023 football team, started his career at Montana Western in 2019 and started as a true freshman. He was a 2019 graduate of Broadwater High School and is from Townsend, Mont. Throughout his time as a Bulldog, Rauser has totaled 174 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, and has six interceptions. He will continue to be a tremendous field presence for the Bulldog defense throughout his senior season, leading as a captain for the second season in a row.

"Kameron Rauser is an excellent choice to represent Bulldog Football and to wear no. 18 for the 2023 season. Kameron has demonstrated upper-level commitment, a positive attitude, and selfless investment into the program." Head Coach Ryan Nourse stated. "He has served his teammates as an exceptional leader in his time with the program. He's been chosen captain twice and displays the character on and off the field that all Bulldogs aspire to."

"The significance of wearing the number 18 not only represents me, but also represents the

Simkins family, the community of Dillon, and the entirety of the Dawg football team. It is

known, MJ Simkins loved football. What he loved even more than football was Dillon, Montana, and the support of the community. MJ's quote, "Leave it better than you found it" has stuck with me." Rauser added. "No matter the relationship, situation, organization, or job, it has become my goal and the team as a whole to live by MJ's wise words. The number 18 will continue to remind the team, community, and myself to never forget the value of making a difference that positively impacts the world around us. The number 18 brings us together. 18, and MJ's legacy as a Beaver and Bulldog will continue to leave its mark as it is a constant reminder to play hard for our teammates, coaches, and community. I, just as MJ did, have a plan to wear the number 18 with pride."

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