2019 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament Shatters Fundraising Mark
Media contact: Bruce Bosley (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Social Media: #TRFwiffle or #TRFwiffle19
ESSEX, VT – A record-shattering fundraising effort that exceeded the previous mark by over $100,000 as well as great fun and competitive action on the field highlighted the 18th annual Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament that was held this past weekend, August 9-11, 2019 at Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams in Essex, Vermont.
The 32-team event raised a staggering $745,000 topping the previous high set of $617,634 last year to lift the 18-year total to just under $6 million. It also is the fifth time in the last six years the Vermont backyard event has brought in well over a half-million dollars.
All funds go to the Travis Roy Foundation that benefits and creates awareness for people with spinal cord injuries, and is named after the former Boston University men’s hockey player who resides with his family in nearby Mallets Bay in Colchester each summer.
‘It’s so incredible what goes on here,18 years we have been doing this. There are so many pieces to the puzzle and stories of the magic that goes on here,’ said Roy in giving thanks to all involved at the money count announcement at Little Fenway on Saturday.
‘We are in a ‘cow field’ in Essex, Vermont, not in Manhattan, raising $700,000, just about $6 million. The numbers are staggering and I hope you feel this when I say it, it’s because of all of you. You get excited about the WIFFLE ball and holding that yellow bat in your hands but you also have a pride in how you care about what we are doing here, and have that hope for a better day. You guys give me and all of us that are dealing with paralysis the energy to know that people want to see that better day and it also leads to the research and the funding we need. Thanks to everyone involved in raising the money and putting on this fantastic event. It’s because of you, the people who have been coming year after year, that we have this hope for a better life. I truly would like to thank everyone that’s part of this great family.’
The tournament is played annually on the three quarter-scale replicas of three of the nation’s iconic ballparks developed by tournament founders Pat and Beth O’Connor, now maintained by the Travis Roy Foundation
The action on the field was highlighted by HOTDAM, one of the seven original teams out of Williston, VT, capturing its fourth championship defeating the Juggernauts of Rutland, VT in the title game. HOTDAM’s John Lenhart of Bayside, NY, a long-time participant, was named tournament MVP. Other exceptional performances on the field included the tournament’s first no-hitter tossed by Cougar Nation’s Keith Carter of Underhill, VT.
Others recognized with annual awards were Will Sleeper of Wellesley, MA and the Boston Terriers earning the Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award and Saul Skrocki of Cougar Nation and South Burlington, VT earned the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award. By raising just under $60,000, the Hardshells of Maine, boyhood friends of Travis Roy’s from Yarmouth, Maine, won the Fan Club Award as the top fundraising team. Also with over $50,000 this year, the Boston Beef were recognized for going over the one-million-dollar mark in its 18 years participating in the tourney. A pair of longtime tournament organizers, Tim Gendron of Essex Junction, VT and Bruce Bosley of South Burlington, were inducted into the Little Fenway Hall of Fame for their years of exemplary volunteer service.
The tournament kicked off Friday with the opening ceremonies and the annual Celebrity-Sponsor game. Award-winning journalist Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and ESPN headlined the celebrities that also featured former big league hurler Bill Lee. Others included current UVM all-conference goalie Stefanos Lekkas, award-winning baseball author Glenn Stout of Alburgh, Miss Vermont USA Bethany Garrow of Rutland, Vermont Lake Monsters general manager Joe Doud, UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman as well as local media members Alex Abrami of the Burlington Free Press, Jack Fitzsimmons of WCAX TV, and Jackie Pascale and Ken Drake of WPTZ TV. Dave Mullany, CEO of Wiffle Inc. and grandson of the inventor of WIFFLE ball, was recognized on Saturday.
Record-Breaking Fundraising Highlights 2018 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE® Ball Tournament
social media: #TRFWIFFLE or #TRFWiffle18
ESSEX, VT – A record-breaking fundraising effort, tremendous action on the field and recognition of the tournament hosts and founders highlighted the 17th annual Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament held at Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams this past weekend, August 10-12, 2018.
The 32-team event brought in $617,634 (as of 3 p.m. on 8-12-18) topping the previous high set in 2016 to lift the 17-year total to over $5.2 million. It also marked the second time in three years the tournament has raised over $600K and the fourth time in the last five years the Vermont backyard event raised over a half-million dollars.
All funds go to the Travis Roy Foundation that benefits and creates awareness for people with spinal cord injuries, and is named after the former Boston University men’s hockey player who resides with his family in nearby Malletts Bay in Colchester each summer.
“The foundation has become my life and it’s an amazing life, and I’m just so proud and grateful of the impact that everyone involved has had on my life,” said Travis Roy at Saturday’s ‘Money Count’ announcement. “And it’s the same for everyone that we can impact because of what we do this weekend. We are really building this foundation. There are so many stories about people that we have helped and the research is real. We are ‘helping people move forward.’ Because of the research, there is hope, thanks so much for hope, and thank you for making it more real than ever. This really is the ‘best weekend of the year!”
Tournament director, host and founder Pat O’Connor and his wife, Beth, were honored Saturday with induction into the Little Fenway Hall of Fame. The O’Connors were recognized by the several longtime tournament volunteers for their vision in building and developing the three WIFFLE ball fields on their property, replicas of three of the nation’s iconic baseball parks, that have led to the extreme growth in many fundraising events and for the countless enjoyment of others that play WIFFLE ball each year.
2018 Champions: The Blue Bulls
Many superlatives occurred on the field highlighted by the Blue Bulls, a longtime team based out of Rutland, Vermont, winning its first title in exciting fashion. Led by the pitching of tournament MVP Ben Harvey (16 Ks) and an eighth-inning walk off home run by Patrick Collins gave the Blue Bulls a 4-3 win over the Staten Island Yankees, an original team from the first tourney in 2002, making its record seventh trip to the title game.
Collins’ game-ending homer was the first-ever in 17 championship games. Other exceptional performances on the weekend were turned in by Billy Doyle of the Boston Beef recording 40 strikeouts on the mound in three round-robin games including one game of 19 Ks; Harvey and the Blue Bulls not allowing a run in their three games; an unassisted triple play by Allie Bosley of 101.3 ESPN Radio Huddle Wows and South Burlington, the second-ever in 17 tourneys; and the record 50th career homer by Tad Skelley of the Blue Bulls, hit in the title game.
Other award-winners were Eric Long of Staten Island earning the Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award, named after Long’s late brother and former teammate; Mike Moshevitis of GoodFellas and Milton, VT picked up the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award; The Boston Beef won the Fan Club Award as the top fundraising raising over $50,000, one of a record five teams that raised over $40,000.
The tournament began Friday with the opening ceremonies and the annual Celebrity-Sponsor game. Saint Michael’s College alum and NESN sports announcer Tom Caron and U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey player Amanda Pelkey of Montpelier and the University of Vermont were among several current and past Vermont sports legends including former UVM hoop standout Taylor Coppenrath; former LPGA tour golfer and UVM basketball star Libby Smith; local amateur golf legend Bob Maritano; and former UVM All-American defenseman Ted Yeates. Others included local media members Alex Abrami of the Burlington Free Press, Mike McCune of WCAX TV, and Ken Drake of WPTZ TV along with Vermont Lake Monsters general manager Joe Doud.
About the Travis Roy Foundation
The Travis Roy Foundation (TRF) was established in 1997 as a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of spinal cord injury survivors and their caregivers. Travis Roy launched his namesake foundation two years after surviving a catastrophic injury in his first and only hockey game playing for Boston University. Since that time, the Boston-based TRF has awarded more than 1,900 Quality of Life grants to individuals across the United States who have experienced a spinal cord injury, helping them lead more independent lives. Simultaneously, the TRF’s research grants fund scientists working tirelessly to find a breakthrough in the world of spinal cord injuries. Funding for the Travis Roy Foundation’s philanthropic efforts comes from individuals, corporations and foundations across North America.
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