Four area youth sports leagues will have plenty to divvy out following Saturday’s Cherry Pie Auction.
The Brownwood Youth Softball and Youth Baseball leagues, the Cen-Tex Soccer Association and Soccer 4 Fun will each have more than $4,000 for the upcoming season following Saturday’s Cherry Pie Auction, sponsored by KOXE/KBWD Radio, which raised $16,931 Saturday inside the Adams Street Community Center.
“I’ve been with the city for 32 years and for the last 25 I’ve been helping out with this,” Brownwood Parks and Recreation Director David Withers said. “… Usually, by 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. we have a lot of people in here bidding on stuff. Before we opened the doors, just on donations, we had more than $5,000 already donated.”
Although $175 below the amount raised in 2018, Withers said the funds raised will go far and be a community benefit with many leagues using the funds to make youth sports affordable for all families.
The items auctioned off Saturday included sports memorabilia from area professional athletes Shelby Miller and Matt McCrane as well as national and international stars Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre. Along with items for sports fans, the auction also sold baked goods, home décor and appliances, jewelry and a variety of items tempting for anyone looking to pamper himself or herself while also supporting area youth athletes.
“All of the money is divided equally among the leagues, 100 percent. Last year, it was a little more than $17,000,” Withers said. “We don’t have any strings to this. We tell the leagues ‘use this as you see fit’, but a lot of it is to keep the fees down. In other towns I’ve talked with, the fees are $100 or more per child to be in sports. Around here, it’s around $50. This does more to keep their expenses down so they don’t have to raise fees for kids.”
Withers said increases in uniform costs, equipment, concession stand items and a variety of other issues often cause leagues to raise fees and through the Cherry Pie Auction those increased expenses never make it to area consumers.
“It’s a demanding job, especially when you have a lot of people donating their time to make this happen … Everyone does their part and that is what makes these leagues successful,” Withers said.
One major benefactor of area youth this year may be Brownwood Kiwanis Club President Carl Boivins. Boivins spent Saturday morning purusing the items and bidding on a few that caught his eye and a few he admits he probably didn’t need. When not bidding on items himself, he fielded calls from fellow Kiwanis like Garry Sanders and said most of the items he bid on added at least another $10 to $20 to the cause.
“I come to the Cherry Pie Auction every year to support the youth of the community. It’s a chance for me to give back,” Boivins said. “The kids youth programs need financing. On a lot of them, I was the first bid so I could try and get it started. I’ll make the same bid on everything. This year, I went $20 all the way across as an incentive.”