Corky’s tournament celebrates 40th anniversary
The 40th Annual Corky’s Early Bird Men’s Softball Classic is set to begin on Thursday, May 2 with the Hometown Tournament which features local teams competing for prizes and bragging rights.
“Corky’s Early Bird Men’s Softball Tournament is celebrating its 40th Anniversary, said Loren Dietz, tournament director.
“The tournament has 200 teams and over 400 games played in Owatonna, Faribault and Waseca.”
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary, a Concert in the Park with the Devon Worley Band will be held from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
on Saturday, May 4th at the Steele County Fairgrounds Park. All ages are welcome. Owatonna residents are encouraged to join in the fun to help kickoff Spring.
Last year, more than 5,000 people attended the three day event that included 178 teams playing on softball fields throughout Owatonna and Faribault, more than 11,000 pork patties were consumed and $40,000 was raised for charity.
“Corky’s Early Bird Men’s Softball Classic is now the largest softball tournament in Minnesota and fifth largest in the world,” Dietz said. “The tournament brings in over $300,000 in revenue to the city of Owatonna.
Additionally, over $40,000 from the tournament will be donated to charity and to support youth athletics in Owatonna.”
Some of the charity recipients from last year were Owatonna Park and Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund, Faribault Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund, Relight the Park Fund, Owatonna Girls Fastpitch Softball, Jim Gleason Benefit and Owatonna Homeless Children.
“This year we have chosen to donate $25,000 to the WeAllPlay initiative to build an inclusive playground and Miracle Baseball Field in Owatonna for special needs children,” Dietz continued.
“We encourage local businesses to match our donation so we can complete this project in 2019.”
In addition to the games some otthers events include the Owatonna Bean Bag Tournament under the big top tent on Thursday night beginning at 6 p.m. and the Legends of Softball Reunion from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday.
“There are great events for all ages,” Dietz said. “Bring the kids out to see some of the best softball teams in the nation while enjoying classic ballpark concessions.”
Over the past nine years, funds that have been raised by Corky’s tournament have gone into renovations for the ballfields that are filled with hundreds of player throughout the weekend and thousands through the entire summer.
The tournament officially begins on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with games be held throughout Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday (championships) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The tournament was named after Corky Ebeling, who worked for Owatonna Parks and Recreation for 40 years.