LAS VEGAS - Normally, you'd need a big act to get a big crowd into the Thomas and Mack Center, but 7,000 fifth and sixth graders packed the stadium this week as part of the 2012 Rebel Reading Challenge.
8 News NOW's Sherry Swensk, UNLV mascot Hey Reb, UNLV cheerleaders and Runnin' Rebels senior Justin Hawkins were all on hand to motivate kids to read.
It was a sure score for fifth grader Maylein Castro. "It was awesome knowing them, ‘cause I want to get to college, ‘cause I want to go here," she said.
"One of the great things about athletics is you have a platform to do things. Kids love student athletes. Use (the) platform to send importance about reading and education," said Senior Associate Athletic Director D.J. Allen.
The Rebel Reading challenge is a 30-day event. Thirty seven schools are competing this year - the most ever. The winning classrooms get to come back and watch the nationally-ranked Runnin' Rebels.
Castro has a good reason to help her classroom win. "So we can come here to watch... um... the guy with the big moustache," she said.
That's Hey Reb she's talking about. Other winning classrooms will get pizza parties for their voracious reading.