By: John Stegeman Sports Editor
July 15, 2012
PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — During the weekend of July 21 the Scioto County Challenger League will host the District 11 Southern Ohio Little League State Tournament in Wheelersburg. Organizers are estimating it will cost a minimum of $25,000 to run the tournament which is expected to attract somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people to the area.
“We are estimating on having 32 teams in the tournament, with 300 to 400 kids. As of now we have close to 20 teams registered,” said Ryan Salmons, tournament director.
Mike Bell a challenger League Coach said the state tournament is in a different location every year.
“Last year we traveled to Akron, Ohio, to play in this tournament. The year before we were in Toledo, Ohio, and the year before that we were in Cleveland,” Bell said.
Salmons said hosting the tournament in Portsmouth has its own set of challenges — most notably, the cost. The league has issued a challenge to the community to help raise the necessary funds. The have issued the “Challenger Challenge.”
“It was easier for us to issue a challenge to the community that if 3,500 people can give us $10 that would raise $35,000,” Salmons said. “If people can give us the change in their pocket that’s fine or if they want to give us $100 that’s fine as well.”
Accepting the league’s challenge, the American Legion Post 471 Riders held a benefit run on Saturday with proceeds from the event helping with the tournament. At the end of the run all of the bikers parked on the Challenger League field in Wheelersburg to allow the athletes time to check out the motorcycles before their game.
“It’s a great privilege and an honor to do what we can. We hope to continue the support and pray you have a great turnout next week,” said Mark Campbell, American Legion Post 471 Riders Road Captain. “For those of us that are able to get up and go everyday we don’t understand what you all are faced with, you all do a tremendous job.”
After their event, the riders presented the Challenger League with a check for $586.
STAR Inc. also held its 2nd Annual Charity Car Show on Saturday, with part of the money raised at the show being donated to the Challenger League and the Disabled Children’s Fund.. Kelly Hunter, director of Adult Services at the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD), said the event is held to raise money for local charities as a way to give back to the community.
“We have about 45 cars, and considering the weather was threatening we are pleased with the turnout,” Hunter said.
For more information about the Challenger League, or for ways to donate or volunteer, call 740-727-8485 or 740-353-5143.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.