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RANGELY I Three new Rangely Little League teams will spend the next month trying to meet a $1,500 to $2,000 fundraising goal for costs associated with joining the league, coach and organizer Jerry LeBleu said this week.
The Braves, a minors team of 8-10 year olds, the Cardinals, a majors team made up of 11-12 year olds, and an American Legion softball team of 12-14 year olds, have already paid the $1,000 entry fee required after the Colorado River Valley Little League out of Rifle voted Rangely into its ranks earlier this year.
But other expenses, like the jerseys, hats, balls and other equipment the Little League organization provides players throughout the season require that teams find ways to raise additional cash.
“All the teams are going in together to raise the money,” LeBleu said. “Whoever raises the most at the end of the season will get to get on the field with (minors team) the Grand Junction Rockies. So there’s some motivation for them.”
So far, local businesses have donated approximately $600 toward fundraising costs, and Little League organizers hope that promoting games, offering concessions at upcoming home series and a car wash next month will help bridge the gap.
In the meantime, the Cardinals have already won two of their four games, losing a third by just one run.
In February, LeBleu approached the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan (WRBM) Recreation and Park District about starting up Little League, with seasons beginning earlier this month and scheduled through the end of May. LeBleu felt the town needed an option to further elementary and middle school players’ experience and abilities before they reach high school.
Now, he said, kids begin the season several weeks earlier than recreation ball while playing under official Little League rules, which more closely follow those for high school play.
Without the help of WRBM, however, the teams would never have come together, said American Legion coach Andy Shaffer.
“The rec center has been absolutely amazing to work with this year in terms of field usage, making sure everything’s good with the Colorado River Valley league, and giving their time and energy to make this happen,” Shaffer said.
Rangely will host games for all three Little League teams Saturday at the Kevin Poole Memorial Fields at Elks Park, with concessions offered throughout the day. The Cardinals play a double-header at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., the Braves play at 12:30 p.m., and the American Legion team plays at 3:30 and 5:45 p.m.