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‘Fun time’ had by all at all-day kickball tournament for Salisbury 49ers

SALISBURY — Eight teams competed Saturday in the all-day Rowan/Salisbury Adult Co-Ed Kickball Tournament, a first-time event which raised money for the Salisbury 49ers youth football club.

The double-elimination tournament, done in partnership with Salisbury Parks and Recreation, had opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. Devora Neely, one of the coordinators for the event, thanked the teams, sponsors and volunteers.

Mayor Karen Alexander made remarks. Pastor Bill Godair of Cornerstone Church offered a prayer, and 49s player Jalon Walker sang the national anthem. Coach Brian Miller, the Salisbury 49ers president, spoke about the organization, introduced the players and thanked everyone for their support.

Games started at 10 a.m. and ended about 6 p.m.

“Some teams camped out all day under tents,” Neely said. “Police officers and firefighters came in and out to join their teams. Some police officers even played in their full uniforms. Everyone really seemed to have a fun time.”

Vendors sold hot dogs, Italian ice, funnel cakes and popcorn. Salisbury 49ers also ran a concession stand.

The kickball tournament’s top finishers were Phillips Air Care, first place; Agility Fuel Systems, second; and Rowan United, third.

Other teams in the tournament were the Salisbury Police Department, Salisbury Fire Department, Kiddieland, Faith Farm Equipment and Salisbury 49ers.

Awards also were given out for most valuable player, best offensive player, best coach, super fan and most inspirational.

Donations for the event came from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Harris Teeter, Food Lion on Jake Alexander Boulevard, Cornerstone Church and Dr. Thomas and Patricia Ansbro.

“Thank you to all who sponsored teams, as well as volunteer referees, DJ Double J and all of the vendors,” Neely said. “We want this to be an annual event, and we hope to have even more teams next year.”

The Salisbury 49ers play their home games at Knox Middle School on Saturdays. The club’s first game is Sept. 10. The full season schedule can be found on the team website at Salisbury49ers.teamapp.com.

“The Salisbury 49ers is a traveling AAU football team, and because we are AAU and travel for games and events, there is a large expense to run our team effectively,” Neely said.

The Salisbury Police Department provides assistance with the purchase of equipment. Last year, it bought new jerseys; this year, new helmets.

The Salisbury 49ers youth football club has four teams, serving roughly 60 to 70 kids ranging in age from 5 to 12.

“Unfortunately, every child cannot afford all of the expenses associated with playing on an AAU team, but we do not want to turn any child away,” Neely said. “… Each year, we are responsible for having adequate equipment, uniforms, paying league fees, paying for things associated with hosting home games and expenses associated with traveling to away games.”

Neely expressed thanks to Salisbury Parks and Recreation for its help with the kickball tournament.

“We met weekly to ensure this would be a successful event,” she said. “Not only was this a fundraiser, but we wanted to focus on bringing unity and something positive to the Salisbury community.

“We reached out to churches, businesses, the fire department and law enforcement. We wanted our youth to see our community come together. We wanted them to not see law enforcement as not just what it has seen on the news but as human beings and to be able to have positive and fun interaction.”

Members of the committee were Neely, Nate Bledsoe, Terry Hughley, Michael Day and Steve Clark.

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