The months of September and October are ushering in team registration and the competition day of the fourth annual Dodgeball Challenge sponsored by the Rotary Club of Harker Heights.

The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Harker Heights High School gymnasium. For more information about the tournament, registration and tickets, the link is HHROTARY.com.

In fact, the gauntlet has already been thrown down and the proclamation presented to the city of Temple’s team “You Can’t Dodge This” by the “Dodgefathers” team from the city of Harker Heights.

There is a solid ground swell of challenges beginning to appear. Among the first has been the city of Temple, who already made it clear during a ceremony two weeks ago that their eyes are set on the city of Belton.

Temple Assistant City Manager Erin “Captain America” Smith inscribed a message on a bright blue dodgeball that read “You’re going down” that she will present to the Belton team.

She is joined seven by team members: Jeremy Faustin, Heather Wilson-Ellis, Gloria Elder, Justin Brantley, Josue Dela Fuente, Heather Bates and Belinda Mattke.

Smith said, “ We have a lot of competition in our blood so we’re ready to get out on the court and show them what we have. The only winning strategy that Smith would share with the media is that they won’t see it coming which brought a rousing cheer from her fellow team members.”

The Dodgeball Challenge is made up of eight players on a team and five games played within each division. Top finishers will advance to the playoffs and co/ed teams are encouraged but not required.

Team players do not have to belong to any sponsoring organization.

Athletic “ringers” are welcome to play: this includes city and business teams. T-shirts will be provided for the players, but costumes are also encouraged.

Awards will go to teams and individual players for deadliest aim, loudness, costumes, uncommon valor and highest energy.

“Some of the tournament rules include: all players must sign a release form, head shots are not allowed and any player that commits a deliberate head shot will be called out, the first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner, if a semifinal or final game comes down to one player per side, they have ten seconds to hit each other out; if not “Showdown” goes into effect,” said Hodson.

In 2017, the champs were the Untouchaballs, first runner up-Heights Dodgefathers, banshee award-Hammers, Mat Rutherford-adrenaline award, and Not in the face-best dressed award.

According to Evan Hodson, coordinator of the DodgeballChallenge, the 22 participating teams in the 2017 challenge and divisions included:

DIVISION A

Beaming Bobcats-Harker Heights Elementary School, JWC Hammers-Jim Wright Company, Infamous Interactors-HHHS Interact/Wilbea Medical Equipment, Shake-N-Bake-Kendrick Thomas, Fright Night-HHHS National Honor Society/Jackeline Fountain, JWC Incrediballs-Jim Wright Company, Big Ballers-Union State Bank, and JWC Ballzinga-Jim Wright Company.

DIVISION B

Heights Dodgefathers-City of Harker Heights, You Can’t Dodge This-City of Temple, Untouchables-City of Copperas Cove, Bye-Open, Salado Slammers-Village of Salado, and Our Balls, Your Face-City of Killeen.

DIVISION C

Solar Guys-Solar CenTex, LLC, ONO050 (Oh No, 5-0-Harker Heights Police Department, In Your Face-About Face Anti-Aging Institute, Court Marshals-Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Seeing Stars and Stripes-Fort Hood USO, Mother Duckers-RCHH Satellite Club, Moneyball-Greater Central Texas Federal Credit Union and Not in the Face-Rotary Club of Killeen/Heights.

“Registration has just begun and it will be a few weeks before we can call our final number of teams. We’re always trying to encourage some new teams to join us who have never played before. We’re in the process of recruiting some hospitals to form teams and take to the court, in addition to several businesses and cities who’ve become standards in the challenge,” Hodson said.

The funds raised by the challenge come from team registrations. The public watches the action for free.

The Harker Heights Rotary Club raises money for several local programs. Two of the major ones are Coats for Kids beginning in 2009 by distributing new winter coats bought at wholesale for children who need them at Harker Heights Elementary School.

They later expanded the effort to provide coats for students in the Homeless Awareness Response Program (H.A.R.P.) that reaches the entire district.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award program is an intensive co-ed training experience for high school students.

Proceeds of the 2016 Rotary Dodgeball Challenge were used to sponsor four students to attend the RYLA camp in 2017.

Heights Rotary also sponsors Interact, a student organization at Harker Heights High School. Interact students’ carry out two service projects a year; one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding.

The challenge also funds hygiene kids for H.A.R.P. and the EarlyAct FirstKnight that brings the values of noble character and service to two elementary schools in Killeen ISD.

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