The Bluebonnet Bowl, an annual post-season football classic, was initiated in Houston in 1959 as a result of the efforts of a civic group composed of Elvin Smith, Lou Hassell, and Eddie Dyer, who were appointed by the Houston Chamber of Commerce Athletics Committee in 1958. In the one year between the inception of the idea for a Bluebonnet Bowl and its actual realization, the group managed to secure NCAA sanction, obtain Southwest Conference approval, and procure the use of Rice Stadium. The first game, on December 19, 1959, matched Clemson University against Texas Christian University. In the first eight years of the Bluebonnet Bowl's existence the television contract improved from $16,000 to the 1967 contract of $180,000. The proceeds from the bowl games have been distributed to various Harris County charitable organizations. Beginning in 1968 the annual football game was played in the Astrodome, and the event was referred to as the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Games were played at Rice Stadium in 1985 and 1986. Unable to continue after a drop in ticket sales and failure to attract a corporate sponsor, the Bluebonnet Bowl ceased after its game on December 31, 1987, at the Astrodome.