By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer– Batter up! It is time for the 24th Annual All Nighter Softball Tournament to benefit DART (Desert Area Resource Training). A night of old-fashioned fun. The informal deadline to register a team is next Monday, August 1 for the Saturday, August 6 tournament at Leroy Jackson Park. The tournament kicks off at 6pm and goes all night until 8am or 9am, depending on number of participants.
A team needs a minimum of ten players but you can have as many players as you want. It’s a co-ed event so mix it up if you wish. Folks under 18 years old need to get their parent/guardian to sign a release form. To register call Christian at DART’s main office: 760-375-9187 Extension 0. Or go to the office at 201 East Ridgecrest Blvd to pay the $275 fee per team and pick up the packet that has the rules and the roster.
“The winners get T-shirts, the trophy, and their name in lights,” says Bob Beecroft, Consultant and retired DART Chief Operations Officer. “It started as just a group of employees trying to figure out how to do a fundraiser. We thought the softball segment would be good and it’s an all night thing because of the heat in the desert. We just kept doing it, people would come and go as far as working for DART. I played with some of the other guys for years and then decided I wasn’t playing anymore, but I would still coordinate the tournament.”
Over the years the tournament has evolved to include food, music, and a 50/50 raffle. DART will be barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs, local food trucks will be on hand and a DJ will be providing the music.
The tournament is in two parts starting with a round-robin where teams are randomly selected to compete in two games. The stats acquired from those rounds determine part two of the tournament, an elimination competition where they each play until they are eliminated or win.
“DART is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) company that is a training organization for developmentally disabled adults. We also have a preschool for disabled and non disabled kids. We provide supported living services for disabled individuals and independent living services who provide services for infants with delays,” says Beecroft. “For 29 years I was in charge of the contract end of it. We would go out and get contracts with the government or the state or whoever and we would put the people that are disabled out on these contracts to improve their skills. Then later on, they could go outside of DART and compete with other non-disabled people for jobs, regular jobs, not under the umbrella of DART. We had a big Base contract for many years. We did the rest stops from Boron to June Lake for 28 years. We currently have the janitorial contract for all three of the Trona plants. We provide transportation services for the people that come get to work and home. Contracts are funded through the Department of Developmental Services for the State. We also get money from the contracts.”