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ESSEX — One of top late-summer events in the Green Mountain State, the 20th annual Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament, will return to action on Aug. 13-15, 2021 in Essex. The 32-team tourney nicknamed the ‘Best Weekend of The Year’ will take place at Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams, quarter-scale replicas of the three iconic ballparks. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Last year’s event, held virtually, raised just over $372,000 after the 2019 tourney brought in a record $757,307 to bring the 19-year total to over $6.4 million dollars. The ambitious fundraising goal for this year is $1 million. All proceeds have benefited the foundation founded by Roy, the former Boston University hockey player, and his family who spend each summer in nearby Malletts Bay on Lake Champlain. The foundation benefits people and families affected by spinal cord injuries.

The 2021 tournament will be the final wiffle ball tournament sponsored by the Travis Roy Foundation. The foundation’s trustees and the Roy family, backed by the wishes of Roy, who passed away at age 45 last October, will continue to reach for Travis’s goals when he started the foundation after his accident 25 years ago. Upon his passing, Roy wanted to endow programs that would have a lasting impact on people who suffered spinal cord injuries, and he wanted the Travis Roy Foundation to exit their active involvement in fundraising (all other annual TRF events will be held through April, 2022). The Travis Roy Foundation’s unique Quality of Life Grant Program continues and it’s medical research commitments, focusing on finding independence for those living with paralysis, will be met. Travis’s life work, his passion and purpose, will carry on.

‘What started as a mission to create fun, has grown into a multi-generational wiffle ball family made of love, laughter, and generosity,’ said Pat O’Connor, the tournament’s founder in 2002 and the longtime director. ‘We are proud of the generous support for Travis’s foundation and will treasure the memories forever.’ In his former backyard in Essex, O’Connor created Little Fenway, Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams, and he and his wife, Beth, were gracious hosts of this tournament.

The event steering committee also expresses its gratitude to serve the foundation alongside the late Roy and his family over the past two decades, and it offers thanks to all who have volunteered or attended the tourney, and those who donated to the great cause.

The tournament opens at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 with opening ceremonies at Little Fenway with the annual Celebrities-Sponsor game at 5:30 p.m. The list of celebrities will be announced closer to the tournament.

Friday night also features games at all three field starting at 6 p.m. In addition to a full slate of action, Saturday features the annual Money Count Ceremony at 2:30 p.m. and the tournament runs through Sunday capped by the playoffs and championship game on Sunday afternoon. The 32 teams are filled for the tourney but in addition to the action on the field, many other events will be held throughout the weekend including a silent auction, many raffles, great food, a free kid’s WIFFLE ball game. Also on Saturday are a pair of Scooter’s Pretzels Home Run Derbies that are open to the public for a donation.

For more information on the Travis Roy Foundation, visit travisroyfoundation.org.

Michael Mawson can be reached on Twitter @Mawson_Sports or via email at mmawson@benningtonbanner.com.


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