Cornhole tournament raises money for Special Olympics

STRONACH — Having fun for a good cause was what the Manistee Moose Lodge No. 1128 and Dr. Shrink Inc. Cornhole Tournament was all about on Saturday.

Two of the kids teams in the Cornhole Special Olympics benefit tournament were sponsored by Wertz's Warriors. Wert's Warriors were started in 1981 by former Detroit Tiger to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics. Every year they ride snowmobiles several hundred miles to Traverse City for winter games to promote Special Olympics.

Two of the kids teams in the Cornhole Special Olympics benefit tournament were sponsored by Wertz’s Warriors. Wert’s Warriors were started in 1981 by former Detroit Tiger to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics. Every year they ride snowmobiles several hundred miles to Traverse City for winter games to promote Special Olympics.

A total of 20 teams competed for cash prizes in the second annual tournament that was held at the Stronach Township Hall. Proceeds from the tournament were donated to Special Olympics through the Wertz’s Warriors who do their annual snowmobile ride to the Winter Special Olympics in Traverse City. The group uses the ride to raise funds and awareness for the annual event.

“It was a good turnout today as we had 20 teams this year including three kids teams,” said Dr. Shrink’s Melissa Spoor. “Two of the kids teams were sponsored by the Wertz Warriors and one team one team was sponsored by the Moose Lodge.”

Spoor they even had a Special Olympian in Logan Grabowski taking part in the event. She said everyone was enjoying the event.

“They all seem to be having fun as we have concession stand, a raffle with some prizes that were donated by Bob’s Roofing,” said Spoor. “We also are auctioning off the Cornhole boards themselves  along with some handmade outdoor cup holders. Wertz Warriors also donated some apparel that is for sale as well to raise money.”

The Manistee Moose Lodge’s Ron Kaminski said the association with Wertz’s Warriors goes back many years for the local lodge. He said the Wertz Warriors actually give the Special Olympians a ride on the snowmobiles into the competition.

“When they get up in Traverse City they ride them right on their sleds,” said Kaminski. “I have been involved with them for over 30 years.”

Wertz’s Warriors were founded by Detroit Tiger Vic Wertz in 1981. Every year this group of snowmobile riders to do a fundraising ride to raise funds for Special Olympics. Each day along the ride they will visit local communities and establishments where they will find many friends who have become volunteers organizing fundraisers and dedicating their time throughout the year, all in the effort to support the Special Olympics Winter Games.

“(former Detroit Tigers) Mark Fidrych road with them for 14 years, Bill Freehan did and so did Mickey Stanley,” said Kaminski. “I see the joy that that riders get out of it every year. Right now there are only about five of the original riders still with them.”

Kaminski said the Cornhole Tournament was a perfect venue to raise money for this event.

“For over 30 years we had been holding an auction to raise money for Special Olympics and hopefully this will be very successful today,” he said.

Dr. Shrink’s Mike Stenberg said the Cornhole Tournament is lots of fun for people of all ages. He added that part of the fun was the friendly competition to be the winning team.

“We have just about the same number of teams as last year and everyone is having a great time,” said Stenberg. “It is amazing how good people at this game as they put it right in the hole.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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