by Dan Jenkins
May 27, 2005 - United Indoor Football Association (UIF) - Kentucky Horsemen
Fans of indoor football occasionally get the chance to cheer some individuals who transcend team rivalries. Outside of Lexington, Kentucky, you scarcely ever take notice of this gentleman, or his off-field actions.
Beyond being one of indoor footballs leaders in every category, Dusty Bonner has even more to offer off the field. Dusty is more to Lexington than just an athlete, and the MVP of last years Indoor Bowl IV. He is a cornerstone to the athletic community in Lexington, Kentucky.
As a freshman in 1998, Bonner was Tim Couchs backup at the University of Kentucky. In 1999, Dusty started all 12-games and led the Southeastern Conference in pass efficiency, total offense, and passing yards per game. He became a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner (2000 and 2001), at Valdosta State University, setting new milestone records for NCAA Division II football. Winning his second Hill Trophy, Bonner became only the second individual to win the award more than once. In 2002 Dusty was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent before being released on the final cut of the preseason.
Since he was released from the Falcons, Bonner has turned into one of indoor footballs top quarterbacks. In 2003 he threw for 67-touchdowns and in 2004 72-touchdowns, and was all-league each year in the NIFL. This season Dusty has already thrown for 34-touchdowns and has been lighting up cornerbacks with all-league wide-receivers Eric Magrini and Chad Spencer, as Lexington looks to capture the first ever UIF Championship.
By day, Dusty can be seen saving lives as a nurse. By night, through the local Big Brothers and Sisters Organization hes playing flag football or taking young children to the museums in Lexington. During the weekends he capitalizes on another momentous climb towards his second Indoor Championship and third run at the top quarterback in the game.
Ben Baxter, a member of the Horsemen Organization, had nothing but positives to say about Bonner and his in-community activities. Dusty is a great ball-player and even better role model, hes involved with everything from public appearances to church gatherings, Dusty does a lot for the community of Lexington.
Steve Brixey, a Lexington season ticket holder, had only enthusiastic praise. Dusty is the Horsemen's most recognizable and visible member in the community. I know his active support of Lexington's Big Brothers and Big Sisters is an asset to their program. Dusty has adopted Lexington as his home, and the community has adopted him as one of our own.
Attending an Indoor game and spending time on the field is nothing new to most, however it turns it a circus for Bonner as he is exonerated with hundreds of individuals piling in to meet you. Each one of the hundreds who encircle this Indoor athlete will leave happy. As he makes sure that every fan gets their autograph and pictures before he leaves the turf.
Also, it should be mentioned that the Georgia General Assembly in 2002 wrote a piece of legislation on behalf of Dusty. The bill of resolution was for recognizing and commending him for his actions as an athlete and community service advocate.
Dusty Bonner is the epitome of what an athlete role model should be, and the fans of Lexington are lucky to have such a great individual on their roster.