CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) - It’s week four of a high school football season that looks different than any other. COVID-19 restrictions have created new challenges for stadium and arena seating, and the UIL has threatened sanctions for schools that don’t enforce precautionary measures. But a couple of men from Panola County believe they have created a social distancing solution.
“We’re in new territory," said Eric Pellham, co-creator of Skip-a-Seat.
That new territory got Pellham thinking about a solution for social distancing at sporting events. He first pitched the idea to his friend, J.R. Royce.
Royce told us, “he (Eric) called me and said, ‘man I’ve got an idea for something called a skip-a-seat,’ and I said skip a what?"
The men paired up to work on the project, and through trial and error they managed to create a social distancing solution.
“We installed 500 in Bulldog Stadium on Monday," Pellham said.
Instead of using caution tape or ropes to enforce the required 6-feet of social distancing, Bulldog Stadium is now home to hundreds of the Skip-A-Seat solutions to ensure fans keep their distance, so the kids can keep playing.
For Royce, the project is personal. His son, Cagan, is a senior fullback at Texas A&M University, and his daughter, Caroline, is a senior and two-sport athlete at Carthage High School.
“I want to be there to watch my children," Royce said. “And I know there are patrons who want to feel safe. And from grandparents to families and just to fans, this is a way people can get in the stands and feel safe and we can social distance according to what the governor is telling us to do," Royce said.
Royce and Pellham hope to soon to have their social distancing solution on display in larger stadiums and arenas, including college and pro.
“I’m getting tired of watching MLB with cardboard people in the stands," Royce said.
The Skip-A-Seat is patent-pending and manufactured in Ruston, Lousiana.