Years ago, in 2011, there was a groundbreaking north of Sheridan. There was a big crowd on a gray, rainy day that managed the mud, walking to the distinctive red landmarks on the Wrench Ranch property. Neltje did the ceremonial groundbreaking and spoke of how she was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan while growing up in New York. As most know, members of her family were longtime owners of the New York Mets. There was always a baseball connection.
Today, it’s more than that — the Doubleday Sports Complex, located on the land that she and Butch Jellis donated. “Dream bigger,” she said, challenging others.
In meeting that challenge, a community recreation complex is off and running. While raising $3 million in private funds, another $6 million will be raised through government and philanthropic donors. When complete, the recreation complex will provide fields for baseball, soccer, softball, Little Guy Football and other Sheridan Recreation Department activities. The leadership is strong and in place — Nathan Mullinax, president; Mike McCafferty, vice-president; Don Julian, secretary; Richard Wright, treasurer. Board members include: Derek Gilbert, Richard Hall, Danny Keller, Dustin Shaw.
There’s a broad base of support locally from a variety of recreation and sports programs. There is a deep, rich legacy of athletic champions hereabouts — football, soccer, golf, basketball, tennis, rodeo — the list is good one. It’s a big cheesy to repeat a movie line, “If you build it, they will come,” from “Field of Dreams.” Yet, it fits. In a fundraising letter from president of the Doubleday Sports Complex president, Nathan Mullinax, he writes: “together, let’s all dream bigger and build Doubleday.”
Tip of the Hat! to Sheridan Press sports editor Mike Pruden.
Tuesday night’s Sheridan Press Sports Award event was a success. Some 250-plus attended and it was the first time athletes from four Sheridan County high schools and Sheridan College were recognized in a single venue. The food was good (by Big Horn Catering), the venue special (WYO Theater) and the Press staff assisted in the organization and delivery of a special night.
The athletes and their parents dressed for the recognition; there was a lot rah-rah cheering, which brought laughter and smiles when the schools’ names were called. Also on the bill: Press photojournalism of local sports, videos and a live Facebook feed. A terrific evening.
Rob Johnson, former Tongue River star and Mr. Wyoming Basketball, delivered a nimble and humorous keynote, recognizing activities outside the playing field and leadership. Johnson is a business solutions specialist for ACT.
Appreciation, too, to the local businesses that made it happen.
• MVP sponsors: Fremont Motor, Sheridan County Mental Health, ACT, State Farm/Jon Oman, State Farm/Ben Bairn, Powder Horn Realty, Inc.
• Championship Team: Fremont Motor.
• Tailgate sponsors: Sheridan Motor, Sheridan College, Powder River Energy Corporation, The Bank of Sheridan, Cornerstone Church.
• Award sponsors: Kilpatrick Creations, ERA Carroll Realty, ERA Carroll Realty — The Bates Team, Vacutech, Sheridan Booster Club, Fremont Ford, Farm Bureau Financial Services — Bob and Erin DeFries, Cornerstone Church, Powder River Energy Corporation, Atlas Chiropractic, Pascal Public Relations, Flood Marketing, Renegade Marketing.