The end of a good project

Over the past three years, the Mid-Ohio Valley Golf Classic has brought to Parkersburg statewide celebrities Jim Justice and Pat White.

Sadly, the golf tournament more commonly known as Purple Pride -a joint effort of the Erickson All-Sports Facility board of directors and the Stadium Field advisory committee -won’t be taking place this year.

The Stadium Field group -which obviously has its hands full with a massive construction project -doesn’t have the time to put into the tournament, a sentiment it recently conveyed to its Erickson counterparts. After receiving that message, the Erickson group decided it didn’t want to go it alone.

In saying good-bye to what was becoming a community tradition, let’s remember the good things that came out of this.

Like cooperation between the stadium committees of the state’s biggest rival high schools.

Like the raising of $29,000 that was evenly split between the two stadium groups.

Like visits to the tournament by two of West Virginia’s best-known sports personalities -Greenbrier owner Jim Justice and former West Virginia University quarterback Pat White, who guided the Mountaineers to four bowl victories.

The event took place at the Parkersburg Country Club its first year, then moved to Woodridge the past two seasons. It originally was sponsored by the McCrady-Jones Insurance Agency before Morgan Stanley Smith Barney filled that role the past two years.

Dale Richardson, a member of the Erickson group and one of those who worked tirelessly to make the tournament a success, expressed disappointment in the lack of commitment to the event.

“It is a sad state of affairs,” he said. “We’re looking a gift horse in the mouth.”

Richardson notes the two groups each received between $4,500 and $5,000 in each of the three years the tournament was conducted.

“We owe the business community a tremendous thanks,” he said. “They embraced the tournament when it was nothing more than an idea and they supported it because it was a way to benefit both causes. It hurts to see it not continue.”

Richardson did hold out hope that the tournament might be revived in the future.

Although I’m the instrument to break the bad news of the tournament’s demise, I also believe this is an opportunity for some other group in the community to take up the cause of supporting the two stadiums. There are many fundraising golf tournaments conducted each year. Why not have a local business or a group of them sponsor an event to support our youth? Let’s not forget those stadiums do send a message to our youth that we care about them and want them to play in the finest facilities we can provide.

After three years of the stadium committees taking on this project, perhaps it’s time for other groups to carry the ball.

Contact Dave Poe at