Kick the ball for a good cause |

Kick the ball for a good cause

Carolyn Pope
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyA kickballers put the ball in play at last year's Evans Chaffee charity tournament. This year's contest is Aug. 18.

EAGLE-VAIL ” You may remember the game from your elementary school play yard. It’s softball without the bat or soccer with bases.

It’s kickball. Reportedly, it’s been around since 1942, and there’s even a movie in production about the sport. It’s alive and well and gaining popularity across the U.S., and, on Aug. 18, Evans Chaffee will hold their sixth annual kickball tournament at the sports field in Eagle-Vail.

The tournament is the creation of Michele and Chris Evans, who figured it was a great way to have a blast on a beautiful summer afternoon and to raise money for a worthy nonprofit organization.

“It’s really important for businesses to give back in the valley,” says Michele Evans. “Not only does it make us feel good to hand over a check that helps a nonprofit, we hope to set an example for other businesses and challenge them to step forward and help.”

To raise the funds for Freedom Ranch, the couple formed a “kickball committee” to complete their goal. They gathered together subcontractors, clients and architects for donations or time, supplies or money, and it all finally came together.

When construction was completed, the shelter was still in need of operating funds, so Michele, president of Evans Chaffee Construction, had the idea of having a kickball game and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast to help raise money.

She came by the idea naturally. On the eve of their wedding, she and her now-husband, Chris, didn’t settle for the traditional rehearsal dinner with wine and plenty of food. Instead, they had a kickball tournament with their friends and family.

It all began in 2002 when Evans Chaffee Construction Group donated both general contractor and construction services to build Freedom Ranch, Eagle County’s ‘safe house’ for battered women.

When all was said and done, a check for $9,000 was handed to the Resource Center to help open their doors and offset some of their initial operating costs.

“It’s a great reflection on the kind of people they really are,” said Beth Christie, business manager for Evans Chaffee. “They’re active, competitive and down to earth.”

That first year was so successful the event went annual, with a different beneficiary each year. Helping the women and children of Eagle County is the tournament’s focus.

This year’s recipient is The Samaritan Center of the Rockies, a nonprofit counseling center located in Edwards. One area the center focuses on is kids.

“It’s wonderful that the teens and women in this valley are being considered by organizations such as Evans Chaffee,” says Katie Hansel, a Samaritan Center counselor. “It’s good to know that people are listening and understanding that depression and anxiety for teens in this valley is a problem and that people in the valley are wanting to help these kids move forward and be successful.”

Harbert Lumber has joined on with Evans Chaffee to help make the event successful by serving up a delicious pancake breakfast for the teams, volunteers and anyone else who is hungry that morning and wants to give to the community. Breakfast will be served beginning at 7 a.m. Lunch is sponsored by Lafarge.

The goal is to raise between $15,000 and $20,000.

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