Annie Lindgren, North Forty News

In 20 years of playing softball, neither Ashley Macdonald nor Jami Sterkel has played in weather as bad as the teams experienced on November 14, 2020. Thirteen teams showed up to play in the tournament, despite the weather, and all shared a day they will never forget. 

Nothing brings a community together quite like recreation, and nothing builds camaraderie like trying to play softball amid Wellington’s cold blasting wind. “Those who made it the whole day deserve a badge of honor,” shared Ashley. “Huge thanks to our umpires, Dustin Coy, Charlie Dravis, Craig Davis, and JD McConkey, for freezing their butts off,” added Jami.

This inaugural event, the Wellington Scholarship Benefit Fundraiser Softball Tournament, raised $3,929 towards education scholarships. The funds went to the Americana Legacy Foundation and will support the new Wellington High School students through scholarships for continued education or trade school education.

The idea for the event started with Jami Sterkel, who has a big heart, a propensity towards selfless acts for the community, and a love of softball. It wasn’t the first time Jami has led efforts to bring the community together, and it won’t be the last. “It is an honor for us to be able to support Jami, the community, local businesses, and even bring a little joy and hope during these challenging times,” shares Ashley.

Ashley Macdonald is no stranger to helping the community. She serves on the Board of Trustees, helps keep things safe through her work with the Wellington Fire Protection District, and can be found painting faces at Wellington events. She gets credit for the refreshed efforts of The Americana Legacy Foundation, which took the place of the Wellington Fire Auxiliary/Fire Corps in late 2019. The organization’s first big fundraiser, scheduled earlier this year, was canceled due to the pandemic.  

“When Jami asked if she could donate money from a softball tournament to support our scholarship fund, we were elated and willing to help her host this event,” shares Ashley, who also played in the tournament.

The Americana Legacy Foundation was started by local firefighters, volunteers, and community members. Collectively they support first responders, veterans, law enforcement, and historic preservation efforts in the community. They raise funds for education scholarships, for giving back to the community, and for preserving relics of Wellington’s fire protection history. 

Despite these challenging times, many local businesses showed support for this event. Big thanks to sponsors Integrity Insurance Specialists, M Rock Creative, Trim Salon, Laura Snodgrass-Financial Adviser, Park Creek Nursery, Henderson Property, Down for Whatever Landscape Solutions, Leave it to Cleaver, Soul Squared Brewing Company, and Thistle. The team also shares special thanks to the Wellington Fire Department, Chief Green, Trustee Macdonald, and Jeff Basamanowicz for assisting with the COVID guidelines and Larimer County Health Department. In-kind donations came from the Wellington Recreation Department and manager Dean Compos. 

“The softball community in Wellington is remarkably close, supportive, and generous. During these unique times, it was universally beneficial for everyone to come together for a great cause…polar conditions and all,” shares Wellington Fire Chief Gary Green, who participated in the tournament. 

Congratulations to members of the winning teams. The champions won a round of drinks from Soul Squared Brewing and two Coors Light cases donated by Mark Nicklay, hopefully ending the day on a much warmer note.

In a year where so many things didn’t go as planned, this event went on. Wellington has passionate and dedicated people and businesses on the playing field, never failing to show up when needed, even on a miserably cold and windy day in November. 

 Champion team Str8 Rippin’ member Jordin Encineas holds a winning case of beer, photo by Brandon Sterkel