BSC has Made Major Impact in 3 Years - August 26, 2010
By Mike Tupa E-E Sports Editor
Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:39 AM CDT
A little more than three years ago, a hearty band of local residents turned the ethereal dream of promoting Bartlesville as an viable sports venue for big-time events into stark reality.
That reality became known as the Bartlesville Sports Commission, a vital and vibrant organization that has continued to paint the City of Legends on the map of attractive athletic events host sites.
The BSC’s achievements, since mid-2007, had been almost legendary.
Within just a few months after organizing, the BSC landed a three-year contract to host the Lone Star Conference postseason basketball tournament — a massive event that has drawn more than 300 local volunteers every year.
“It’s been one of the highlights of my professional career to work with the people in the Bartlesville Sports Commission,” LSC Commissioner Stan Wagnon told the E-E this morning.
After securing the LSC contract — and proving it could stage such a major (16-team, five-day) event in a professional and successful manner — the BSC next established the Bartlesville Sports Hall of Fame, which in October will induct its third class of local athletic legends.
Another staple event established by the BSC is the annual member’s golf tournament, held in conjunction with the Hall of Fame induction weekend.
In addition to these three major events, the BSC this week finalized the Bartlesville South Central Shootout, a six-team college round robin tourney, which will take place Nov. 12-13 at the Bartlesville High Fieldhouse.
Other local events, or organizations, which the BSC has helped subsidize support monetarily or with services, include the Miles for Mammograms 5K run, Boys & Girls Club basketball, Birdies for Scholarship, the Washington Country Red Cross and the ConocoPhillips Gymnastics Club.
In short, the BSC has matured in three years from a concept to a major sports force.
“We want to showcase the community, to fully utilize our athletic facilities and to add to the economic impact for Bartlesville,” original board member and current events chairman Bob Pomeroy said during an interview this week. “Those are worthwhile goals and they’re doing a good job.”
The power behind the BSC has been its board members.
The original cast for this potent dozen included chairman Gene Batchelder, Chris Batchelder, Tim Bart, Marty Schoenthaler, Dan Gillam, Pomeroy, Charlie Bowerman, Tammi Moreland, Dory Potter, Larry Houchin, Glenn Bonner and Jim Framm.
The core of the original board remains, although there have been changes.
Both Batchelders have since moved out of town and Houchin no longer is a member, Pomeroy said.
Other than that, the board is the same, with the addition of Chris Jones, Kyle Hubbard, John B. Kane and current chairman Rand Berney, he added.
Equally important to the success of the endeavor has been the devotion and hard work of administrative assistant Sherri Lynn, Pomeroy said.
“She has been absolutely invaluable,” he said. “She’s been very, very important to what we’ve done.”
Whatever the BSC has accomplished had its roots in a discussion group in the spring of 2007.
“There were three or four guys out there that just talked about ‘we ought to do this, to show off our facilities, and we ought to help our youth,’” Pomeroy recalled.
The BSC’s first major achievement materialized shortly after the organization.
“Within 30 days after we formed, Tim Bart, one of the original members, got the bid package for the Lone Star Conference tournament,” said Pomeroy. “We bid on that and got it. We got way ahead early on. That was a big event for us.
“I still marvel we were able to do it (host the tourney) as well as it was done the first year,” he continued. “We had a lot of good people involved.”
The wedding of the LSC and BSC was the stuff of which destiny and serendipity are made.
At that time, the conference was hunting for a neutral site at which to hold its postseason conference.
The BSC provided as perfect an answer as was out there at the time.
“We were looking for a partner with an organization that could help us get that off the ground,” said Wagnon. “I don’t think we could have found a better partner than the Bartlesville Sports Commission and the people of Bartlesville.”
In looking back, Wagnon said he’s not surprised the BSC managed to provide such a top-notch environment and production for the conference tourney.
“Even though the sports commission was new at that time, I think it’s evident the members of the Bartlesville Sports Commission were not new to the reasons why you serve on a sports commission,” he explained. “A guy like Gene Batchelder obviously brings a lot to the table, and a guy like Bob Pomeroy brings incredible experience.
“I think they had a passion to do what was bright for Bartlesville,” Wagnon continued. “That all came together to make it an attractive partnership for the Lone Star Conference.”
Due to unforeseen circumstances, including a defection of several Oklahoma schools from the LSC to more geographically-friendly conferences, the partnership will end after the March 2011 tourney in Bartlesville.
But, both sides agree the blending of the conference and commission has been a win-win for both entities.
The BSC also made a thumbs-up move when it organized the first Bartlesville Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet in 2008, to recognize and canonize some of the area’s most-significant sports legends.
This year’s HOF banquet is planned for Oct. 23.
The BSC golf tournament is an annual pat on the back for members.
Non-members pay $50 to play in the event, while members get to participate for free.
Incidentally, the annual cost of membership to the BSC is $50.
Money raised from membership fees, and modest amounts earned from hosting the LSC tourney and HOF banquet have been put back into other local sports activities and groups, including those mentioned above.
The BSC’s most-recent triumph is nailing down the Bartlesville South Central Shootout, a NCAA-allowed preseason event.
The format features six college men’s basketball teams — three from the Lone Star Conference, two from the MIAA Conference and one from the Heartland Conference — in a six-game festival during the second weekend in November.
This year’s field will include West Texas A&M, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Midwestern (Texas) State, Newman (Kan.) State, Emporia (Kan.) State and Fort Hayes (Kan.) State.
The NCAA allows individual colleges to participate in this kind of preseason event only once every three years, Pomeroy said.
That means there will be a different lineup of teams every year, in what the BSC is hoping will be an annual event.
While the Shootout won’t match the LSC tourney in grandeur or commitment “we are going to try and make it a nice experience for the boys who come in and play,” explained Pomeroy. “It gives us a chance to show off our facilities to other coaches and leagues, and an opportunity to meet new coaches and establish new contacts.
“These basketball teams will all be spending at least one, and possibly two nights in towns, staying in local hotels and eating at local restaurants and so on. It’s a good thing for Bartlesville and it’s a good thing for fans to come out and watch some very good basketball.”
Meanwhile, the BSC will continue to look for new ways to market the city of Bartlesville as a desirable location for sporting events, Pomeroy emphasized.
The BSC’s task has been mammoth — to promote Bartlesville as a site for out-of-town events, while attempting to support local sports.
No one said, back in 2007, it would be easy.
But, judging by past successes and the highway of promise that stretches ahead, it’s been worth it.