The city team of Copperas Cove, the “Untouchaballs,” proved unstoppable winning the 2017 Rotary Dodgeball Challenge Cup on Saturday. Sponsored by the Harker Heights Rotary Club, the third annual event featured 22 teams in a tournament at Harker Heights High School gymnasium.
“This isn’t your father’s dodgeball,” said Evan Hodson, event coordinator.
“We have four new teams and about 180 players; so each year it’s bigger and better,” he said.
The first event in 2015 raised $12,000 and last year’s take was $15,000. The total for 2017 was more than $18,000, said Hodson. All the money raised supports local Rotary programs such as Coats for Kids, RYLA — the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and Homeless Awareness Response Program, or H.A.R.P, in Killeen ISD. Three hundred hygiene kits (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.) will be divided between H.A.R.P. and several schools for students in need.
Among the teams included: the “Court Marshalls,” sponsored by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the Fort Hood USO team, “Seeing Stars and Stripes” with player, and Rotarian Isabel Hubbard pumped for victory.
“I’m here with seven outrageously talented players,” Hubbard said. Other catchy team names were “Not in the Face” by the Rotary Club of Killeen/Heights, “Big Ballers” of Union State Bank and Salado Slammers from the village of Salado.
With fists pumping the air, Slammer Amber Dankert shouted, “Our team going kick some butt.”
Adrenaline junkie Matthew Rutherford of “You Can’t Dodge This,” the city of Temple’s team, couldn’t wait for the action.
“We’re ready to play some dodgeball,” he said.
When the music played, mania erupted with players on each team racing to the colorful foam-core balls lined up on the center line dividing each of the three courts. Balls flew everywhere some missing a player, or hitting one or got caught, but players left the courts crying tears of laughter, not defeat. Yet all the fun wasn’t on the courts as the crowd hollered support from the stands.
“You’ll get ‘em next time,” yelled Marrissa Barrett.
“I’m here to support everybody because it’s a great cause,” she said.
Cheering almost non-stop, Samantha Sherwood appreciated the fun and funds the event generated. “This is is great way to bring the communities together to help kids,” said Sherwood.
Match after match, winners began to emerge. Perennial dodgeball powerhouse the “Mother Duckers” won the second division, and newcomers from Fort Hood’s “Shake-N-Bake”, won the third division. The “Court Marshalls” and Harker Heights city team, “Heights Dodgefathers” fought for a Wild Card spot, won by Heights.
In the semifinals, the “Untouchaballs” swept “Shake-N-Bake” while the “Heights Dodgefathers” defeated the “Mother Duckers.”
In the final, the “Untouchaballs” played like Nolan Ryan pitching a no-hitter as almost all of their shots landed,
overpowering the “Heights Dodgefathers”, and became the first team to win the championship with a perfect 9-0 record. Not surprising, they also earned the “Dead-Eye Award” for the most accuracy in their throws.
“It was a tremendously fun event overall,” added Hodson.