Fantastic Finish: 2021 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tourney Sets Fundraising Record
Social Media: #TRFWiffle
Media Contact: Bruce Bosley (email@example.com)
ESSEX, Vt. — A fantastic fundraising effort capped a great weekend as the 2021 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament rounded third and headed for home at Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams in Essex, Vermont on August 13-15, 2021. The three-day backyard tournament raised a record $1,192,238.00 (as of 8 p.m. 8-18-21).
The record amount brings the 20-year tourney fundraising total to over $7.5 million with over $2 million coming since 2019. All funds go to the Travis Roy Foundation that was founded by and named after the former Boston University men’s hockey player who summered with his family in nearby Mallets Bay in Colchester, Vt..
Due to Roy’s wishes after his passing, fundraising for the foundation and its operations will wind down during April of 2022 with all funds turned over to endowments dedicated to enhancing the lives of spinal cord injured survivors and their families to live more independent and hopeful lives. The 2021 tourney is the last sponsored by the Travis Roy Foundation.
It was also the first tournament and the first large event for the foundation after Roy’s death on October 29, 2020 at age 45. Saturday’s emotional Money Count Announcement featured a video that Roy recorded last September.
‘If you have ever given to the foundation in anyway at all, I’ve always tried to share my gratitude in the moment and send a thank you letter, and I’ve just always hoped you’ve felt my sincerity,” noted Roy on a jumbo screen in front of the large, hushed crowd. ‘I’ve had a lot of people to thank, to show how much it means to me. I’m here right now telling you thank you for picking up that WIFFLE Ball bat, thank you for lacing up your skates, thank you for lacing up your shoes to run a marathon or a 5K. Thank you for putting a check in the mail. Thank you for supporting my family. You will always be there supporting them.’
‘We wrote a helluva book, and I can’t thank you enough for being a part of it.’
The tournament has been played annually since 2002 on the three 1/4-scale replicas of three of the nation’s iconic ballparks developed by tourney founders Pat and Beth O’Connor. It was announced Saturday that many participants of the 32 teams will carry on the WIFFLE ball tradition honoring Travis Roy with future tournaments at the Little Fenway complex. More details will be announced in the future.
As it has every year, the competition on the field among the 32-teams was spirited with everyone involved living up to the late Roy’s mission to have fun over what is dubbed, ‘The Best Weekend of the Year’. RH United, in its third year, captured the 2021 championship by defeating the Essex-based Buckners, 8-4, in Sunday’s title game at Little Fenway. Tournament Most Valuable Player Dan French of Richmond, Vt. was unbeaten on the mound all weekend, hurling a gem in the win over the Buckners, a team he won the title with in 2016. The tourney’s first two-time MVP, French contributed at the plate over the weekend, and he also was the winner of the Scooter’s Pretzels Home Run Derby.
In the other awards, the Blue Bulls’ Allie Skelley, out of Wolfeboro, N.H. and Portsmouth, R.I., picked up the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award for the third time. Staten Island’s Joe Tirone, who has participated in all 20 tournaments, was the 2021 Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award winner. The Hardshells of Yarmouth, Maine, a team of made up of boyhood friends of Travis Roy, was the Fan Club Award for fundraising. The top three fundraising teams were The Point of Colchester, Vt., the Boston Beef of Belmont, Mass., and the Hardshells.
Several key tourney volunteers were inducted into the Little Fenway Hall of Fame for 2020 and 2021. The class of 2020 features the late Travis Roy, the inspirational leader behind the foundation and the tournament, and Art Page of Belmont, Mass. Page has been a key member of the foundation’s board of trustees since its inception and has been captain of the Boston Beef, an original team since 2002. Page’s Boston Beef has raised over $2 million in the 20 years of the tourney. Inducted in 2021 were Sharon and Tom Downs of Essex, Vt., leaders of another original team, Curse Lifted, and organizers of a successful annual fundraising event; Adam Polgreen of West Roxbury, Mass., a partner with Pack Network who has provided unique and exclusive web streaming coverage of the tourney since 2011; and Buckners captain Rob Young, a longtime resident of Essex Junction, Vt., an organizer who has assisted in procuring corporate donations for many years.
The tournament kicked off on Friday with opening ceremonies and the annual Celebrity-Sponsors game. Leading the celebrities was award-winning NESN sportscaster Tom Caron of NESN, Boston Bruins and TD Garden anthem singer Todd Angilly, who’s rousing Star Spangled Banner shook the hills, as well as current UVM Men’s Hockey Head Coach Todd Woodcroft and former Cats coach Mike Gilligan. Several media members played in the game including outgoing WCAX sportscaster Mike McCune, who was thanked for his 20 years covering the tourney. Appearing at the event on Saturday was David Mullany, CEO of WIFFLE Inc., grandson of the inventor of the game.
Two of the top fundraising teams, the Boston Beef and the Rutland, Vt.-based Blue Bulls were selected to play WIFFLE Ball at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.
Impressive Fundraising Highlights 2020 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament
Social Media: #TRFwiffle and #BatterUpTRF
Contact: Bruce Bosley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ESSEX, Vt. – An impressive fundraising total, successful social media activity and several great virtual events highlighted the 19th annual Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball Tournament that wrapped up this past weekend.
The tournament was different than the traditional format that usually takes place at Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams in Essex, Vermont yet the 2020 edition raised $325,309 (as of 8-10-20), a very impressive figure during a pandemic. Over the tournament’s 19-year history it has raised over $6.4 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 in nearby Mallets Bay in Colchester each summer.
‘What a fun week we had,’ said Roy in his remarks Sunday in the annual money count announcement broadcast live on Pack Network (VIEW HERE). ‘I’m feeling a lump in my throat hearing all the familiar voices online all week since this tournament captures all your senses. It’s been sad not seeing everyone this year but I can’t thank everyone for making the most of it.’
‘The payoff for all the hard work all year fundraising and getting teams together is coming to Vermont to celebrate the weekend and feel the magic,’ added Roy. ‘We’re missing you greatly but the fact is we raised over $300,000 in the middle of a pandemic. Now we have this money to continue our research, issue our grants, and most importantly help individuals and families in need. What you guys have done to rally your teams and raise that kind of money to help us is exciting and is a huge relief. Thank you very much to all involved.’
Roy also acknowledged the impact of this summer’s TRF WIFFLE Ball Challenge, where many have participated by taking a swing with an official WIFFLE bat and ball, and posted their videos and challenges on social media (#BatterUpTRF).
‘Also thanks to those who participated in the TRF WIFFLE Ball Challenge,’ said Roy. ‘That too has raised some money but more than ever we raised awareness to our cause, and a lot of people had a lot of fun.’
The challenge, and donations for it, continues through the month of August with close to 300 so far participating, near the number who usually play in the traditional tournament.
In addition to Sunday’s money count was a conversation with former Sports Illustrated senior writer, E.M. Swift, co-author with Travis Roy of the best selling book, ‘Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy, Courage and Triumph’, that was the inspiration for Little Fenway founder Pat O’Connor starting the tournament in 2002. All of Sunday’s presentations can be viewed on the tournament’s YouTube channel (link above).
Along with the virtual presentations, replays of the last 10 title games and highlights from all 30-plus teams, an online silent auction, and a simulated tournament on the video game ‘MLB: The Show 2020’ was held. The E60: Buzz Unit held off The Point in Sunday’s thrilling championship game.
Several annual awards were presented Sunday recognizing extra efforts.
- Mike ‘Mojo’ Moshovetis of GoodFellas and Milton, Vt. earned the Most Valuable Player Award after exceptional fundraising
- For a tremendous effort producing all the virtual presentations along with 10 years of tournament broadcasts, Adam Polgreen of West Roxbury, Mass., co-founder and co-owner of Pack Network, picked up the Tommy Long Sportsmanship Award
- An originial captain since 2002, Art Page of the Boston Beef and Belmont, Mass. earned the Kim Trahan Fundraising Leadership Award
- By raising over $52,000, the Hardshells of Maine, made up of Travis Roy’s boyhood friends from Yarmouth, Maine, won its second straight Fan Club Award as the top fundraising team.
The 2021 Travis Roy Foundation WIFFLE Ball tournament is slated for August 13-14-15, 2021 in Essex, Vt.
Special thanks for the 2020 event go to: WIFFLE Inc., New England Federal Credit Union, The Essex Resort and Spa, Vermont Tent Company, Pack Network, Dunkin, Boston Red Sox, Shorepoint Capital Partners, Cotton Candy Connection (Matt Mullen), Pomerleau Realty, Bolton Valley Resort, Windjammer Group, The Wall Doctor, Smugglers Notch
Recap of 2019’s record-shattering tournament:
Media contact: Bruce Bosley (e-mail: email@example.com)
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.