This year’s Storm Co-Ed Benefit Softball Tournament, played Aug. 3 at Veteran’s Fields in Great Bend, is in the books but the tourney certainly wasn’t played by the book. Heavy and intermittent rain along with muddy field conditions prompted tournament organizers to delay play, shuffle schedules and, in the end, flip coins in order to complete the fifth-annual event.
“This was the most challenging tournament ever; even more challenging than the first year we had it,” explained Patty Halseth, who has organized the event five straight years. “Weather played such a huge factor this year; we never got a break from the rain long enough to play all of our games. It was frustrating but at the same time impressive because we still raised a significant amount of money for our cause.”
As trying as the weather and field conditions were, the tournament still managed to net $2,500. The money will help area special-needs athletes when they compete in Special Olympics events around the state this year and next. Halseth explained that money raised goes toward paying for hotel rooms and meals when Storm team athletes compete, and it covers gas for the travel bus.
Throughout the year, the Storm participates in basketball during the winter, culminating with the state tournament in late winter. Storm athletes also compete in track and field, ending the season with the Special Olympics state meet in late spring.
Among the field of competitors in this year’s softball tournament were the Warriors, which included many of the athletes who compete for the area’s Special Olympics team. Twenty-one Warrior team members split time, competing in two games during the tournament. They won both of their games against their good-natured but error-prone opponents.
An early evening rain storm brought an early end to the tournament with only nine games played. A coin flip determined the winner of the tournament. Even the coin flip proved taxing as teams completed multiple coin flips before Bob’s Hauling flipped differently than all the other teams and was declared the winner. Also competing in the tournament were area teams Cooper Softball, Team Legion, and Vanley’s Tavern (Larned), along with the Warriors.
Halseth commended the teams who endured the challenging weather conditions. She also praised the sponsors and volunteers who ensured that this year’s challenging tournament was a financial success. Twenty-four businesses sponsored the tournament. There were 15 volunteers who helped Halseth carry out the duties of the tournament.
Rosewood Services, Johnson Electric and Smith Supply were major sponsors of this year’s tournament, each contributing $500. Sunflower Diversified Services gave $200. Other tournament sponsors were: Beauty N Beyond Hair, Nails, Skin; Clara Barton Hospital and Medical Clinic; Edna’s Bar and Grill (Macksville); Ellinwood Packing Plant; Great Bend Farm Equipment; Head Quarters Hair, Nails, Skin; JoMax Construction; Mom’s Café (Seward); Nicholson-Ricke Funeral Home; P&S Electric & Security; Precision Printing & Supply; Silverado Electric; Stone Sand; Straub International; Town & Country Supermarket; Walmart (Great Bend); Western Ag Enterprises.
Raffle donations were provided by: JoAnne Wondra, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant; EZ Tanning; and Dawson Jewelers Designs by Dana.