MILLSTON—Fifteen teams competed in this year’s MDA Labor Day Softball Tournament held in Millston.

The event raised $17,260 to send children with muscular dystrophy to summer camp. It marks the 36th year that the tournament has raised money for MDA.

The weekend began with cool temperatures and a shower of rain, but games began at 8 a.m. as schedule and continued throughout the day. The auction items kept pouring in, and at 3 p.m. the auction started. Over three hours later from the auction alone $6,600 was raised with two days of fund raising to go.

Baked goods were also sold prior to the auction. All of the bakery items were donated by Laura Gnewikow of Tomah and Marsha Gettinger from Marshfield. Laura is Sue Marcou’s mother, and Marsha is Sue’s sister, and they have been baking and selling for MDA for over 10 years. Bakery items brought in $178.

Prior to the auction, people assembled in the shelter for presentations. Betsy Sedelbauer spoke of MDA research on new drugs and delivered an update on Samuel and life-extending drugs developed to promote muscle retention that will improve Samuel’s life.

Mike Murray from Tomah, the auctioneer, spoke about the “Packer Boards” he did and presented checks from the boards totaling $4,200.

A little fun was also had with a game of “Memorable Moments in Millston.” Questions were asked relating to memories from previous years, and those who answered correctly won a beer ticket.

Bicycles were donated to the auction. One was a black and orange boys bike that Lucas Olson, age six, was intent on. His father, Mike Olson, hoisted Lucas on his shoulders so he could bid on the bike. Lucas’ hand never went down until the bike was his with a big grin on his face the entire time.

Another item was a cooler that was zip-tied for secrecy as to its contents. Once the bidding stopped, the cooler was opened immediately because everyone had to see what was in there. It contained a gift certificate, snacks and soda.

Sunday brought warmer weather for the softball, volleyball and horseshoes tournaments. Eight teams signed up for volleyball. Winners of the volleyball tournament were The Hangovers from the Tomah area. Second Place was the team called the “Don’t Knows” because they didn’t know what to call their team. Players were from the Warrnes area. Volleyball started at 10 a.m. and lasted until after 6 p.m. Many thanks to Wendy, Morgan and Allyson Wright and their extended family for running the volleyball tournament again this year.

There weren’t many for horseshoes, but six players had fun throwing with Tony Hernandez for being in charge of the competition.

Sunday afternoon’s presentation of the Millston Citizen of the Year was presented by Millston Park Commission president and last year’s recipient Gerry Schaller and commission treasurer Wendy Wright. Luke Cole of Millston was given the award. He was recognized for his many years of dedication to the park and his many donations in the town of Millston.

Special guest

A special guest was on hand this weekend. Anya Moran, fundraising coordinator with MDA in Minneapolis, helped with and participated in the weekend events. She spoke to the crowd about various fund raisers throughout the region and announced that our “little” tournament is famous. She said the Millston tournament is the longest, continuous small community fund raiser that MDA has. There are small community fundraisers in the region but none has continued for 36 consecutive years. The total donations for the 36 years have now grown to $115,000. Each year the donations continue to grow and it all started with a $250 donation in a hat.

Monday games continued starting at 8 a.m., and then at 11:50 a.m. a new activity for the weekend was introduced, .1-kilometer walk for MDA. Approximately 40 walkers participated in the walk, approximately 109 yards. The walk was on Berry Street next to the park. There were cheerleaders holding signs that said “Keep Going,” “Stay Strong” “You Got This” and “Almost There.” At the finish line, a banner said, “Thank You For Supporting MDA,” along with the sponsors for all the shirts. Registration for the walk was $20, and walkers received a t-shirt. At the halfway point there was a water station, and band aids were handed out for blisters. Samuel Sedlbauer and his family led everyone on the walk. One of the walkers was, Laura Gnewikow, 88 years, old from Tomah. She said if she can do it everyone can. Sponsorships for the t-shirts totaled $2,000, and walkers donated $1,140 for the .1K walk, so over $3,000 was raised from the walk alone.

Monday afternoon the raffle drawing was held at 3 p.m. This year’s raffle winners were:

Grand prize, the MTD riding lawn mower to Big Bri from a 262 area code.

Second prize, a $200 meat package, went to Kim Jost Snider from Tomah.

Third prize of a cordless Weedeater to Calvin Cottone from Warrens.

Fourth prize of $100 to Lorraine Smith from Chippewa Falls.

Fifth prize of $50 to Joann Hartley from Beloit.

Other raffles prizes won were a handmade quilt made and donated by Zendy Michalek of Tomah. She titled her softball-themed quilt “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The quilt was stunning and was won by Lynn Stratton of Millston, who has a new grandson that will be able to have many years of enjoyment and warmth from the quilt.

Tickets to the Wisconsin Badgers vs. Iowa football game on Nov. 11 in Madison were donated by the Torkelson Funeral home in Tomah. Winner of the football raffle was George Reidel of Millston. Reidel spends many hours preparing the ballfield and scorekeeping throughout the entire weekend.

Many hands make light work. There were many volunteers who worked the event:

Concession stand, ticket booth, volleyball, softball and horseshoe people.

People who ran the sawdust pile so the children went home with money and prizes.

People who wore an apron and sold raffles and tip board prizes.

Scorekeepers and ballfield preparers, keeping the scores straight and maintaining the playing surface all weekend.

Auction helpers: Marsha Gettinger and Dixie Dettinger, auction clerks; Mike Murray, auctioneer; and Ted Coplien helping find the bidders and all who donated to the auction.

The Sedelbauer family for helping with t-shirt sales.

At 3 p.m., Samuel threw out the first pitch for the championship game. Players from each team signed a game ball and gave that to Samuel.

The championship game pitted Stahulak Concrete from Pell Lake, which has competed in the tournament for over 12 years, and B.A.L.D. Acres from the Tomah area, which has been in the tournament over 30 years. Two games of championship rounds were needed as Stahulak Concrete suffered its first loss of the weekend in the 3 p.m. game. The 4 p.m. game decided the winners were to be B.A.L.D. Acres, the defending champs to once again take home the first-place trophy. Third place was awarded to Red Rockets from McFarland. Red Rockets have been in the tournament 16 years.

The most important trophy of the weekend, the Spotsmanship Award, was presented to The Old Timers from the Camp Douglas and Tomah area. The Old Timers team founder was in the first game ever played. The Sportsmanship Award is decided by the umpires and no one else. The umpires said the Old Timers did have some calls that went against them but showed great sportsmanship throughout the entire weekend and therefore was awarded the trophy.


Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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