Sno-pitch tournament raises $6,000 for Special Olympics
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016 06:00 am
The annual Special Olympics Charity Sno Pitch Tournament took place at O.R. Hedges from March 12-13.
Local resident Mary Smith organizes the event each year and reported that more than $6,000 was raised, $1,000 more than usual.
"It went great. We had the biggest turnout ever. So we had 23 teams (well above the usual 16) and the weather was awesome," Smith said.
“We usually raise $3,500 to $5,000 and this year we are able to donate $6,017.50 to the Special Olympics.
“I focused this year on trying to get as many teams come out as I could. I figured this year being a recession that the raffle prizes would be less and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to donate as much money. So I really focused on contacting every contact I had in order to have extra teams out.”
The tournament, which has run annually for 16 years, has now raised more than $60,000 for Special Olympics.
"Strokers" was the winning team, made up of Olds players, she said.
As well, there were 80 prizes that were donated to be raffled off.
“This weekend was the warmest in 15 years and with no snow,” Olds and District Special Olympics chair Karen Mengersen says. “We have played in snow that was almost a foot deep; in mud where boots stayed in the mud and feet left the boots; in blizzards; and in extremely cold weather.”
Every year, the Town of Olds makes the baseball diamonds available for free.
"It's a huge donation. It's worth about $2,500 to us," she said.
Smith said the money raised would go to Special Olympics' travel budget, allowing athletes to attend competitions in Canada or internationally.
"For me, to have been born in just good physical condition and I don't want to take that for granted," she said about organizing the tournament each year.
"When it comes to the Special Olympics and they have all the challenges that they have to deal with, and they still compete and do amazing and they go really far, it's near and dear to my heart. I just like being able to donate to the cause."
Smith says the tournament’s success would not have been possible without the help of amazing volunteers who pitched in selflessly as well as businesses that donated to the cause by providing raffle prizes.