2009-04-08 / Sports & Outdoors

Teams rally to support Maine Special Olympics

By David Hart Irregular Staff

Safe! Josh Wilcox of the Freeman Ridge Construction Team, or better known as Schneipp's Team, is safe at home in this collision with Tufulio's catcher Wendy Russell and pitcher Deb Lander in the annual Fred Webster Snow Softball fundraiser for the Maine Special Olympics. (David Hart photo) Safe! Josh Wilcox of the Freeman Ridge Construction Team, or better known as Schneipp's Team, is safe at home in this collision with Tufulio's catcher Wendy Russell and pitcher Deb Lander in the annual Fred Webster Snow Softball fundraiser for the Maine Special Olympics. (David Hart photo) CARRABASSETT VALLEY -- The conditions were nearly perfect for the 22nd annual Fred Webster Snow Softball tournament last Tuesday. Eight teams supporting the Maine Special Olympics came out to represent their sponsors and played numerous softball games between the Carrabassett Valley Town Park softball field and the Black Fly Field. Snow softball is a pledge-based event that occurs annually each spring regardless of the conditions.

It is anticipated that nearly $25,000 was raised by local teams which include, for the fourth year now, a team of staff and board members from the Maine Special Olympics. Last year in 2008 the event raised a record high $28,000 and as of press time the money from this event was still rolling in.

In no surprise, Freeman Ridge Construction, or known this year as Schneipp's Team, came out and won their first game early Tuesday morning and never stopped winning to take the title. More than likely a good thing, but nobody could remember how many years straight that Freeman Ridge took the championship.

Dennis Poulin of the Freeman Ridge Construction Team pitches his way to another victory. Freeman Ridge once again went on an undefeated run and won the annual Fred Webster Snow Softball Tournament. (David Hart photo) Dennis Poulin of the Freeman Ridge Construction Team pitches his way to another victory. Freeman Ridge once again went on an undefeated run and won the annual Fred Webster Snow Softball Tournament. (David Hart photo) Whether winning or losing, all of the eight teams had tons of fun while supporting a great cause.

"We are sincerely appreciative of being the beneficiary of this year's event and all of the events now in its 22nd year," said Phil Greelhoed, president and CEO of Maine Special Olympics. "I can not believe it's been this successful. The guys and girls in the valley are great and we're really appreciative of them for keeping us involved." Greelhoed said the people have a great time and his team has lots of fun and it's an event that they really look forward to each year.

His Special Olympic Team participates like all the other teams. "It gives us the opportunity to give back. We raise money for the event like everybody else."

"It's almost like a local holiday up there. This is something that can not be duplicated anywhere else in the State," Greelhoed said.

The president and CEO said it's great to interact with some of the local Sugarloaf folks and surrounding business staff outside of Winter Games that is held in Carrabassett Valley.

"It's certainly a great day… To be with good people and have a lot of fun, while at the same time fundraising is great," Greelhoed said.

Greelhoed is in his 23rd year with the organization and been the president and CEO for six years. The Maine Special Olympics is now in its 41st year of operation.

"Over 3,200 athletes participate statewide on an annual basis. This could not be sustainable without events such as the annual snow softball tournament," he added.

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