By MARK MAYNARD
It’s not going to be long until Our Town is painted red, white and blue for the silver anniversary of Summer Motion.
The pieces are in place for another fantastic festival starting July 3 with the first of three consecutive concerts on the riverfront.
Congratulations to President Cade Mahan on organizing another whizbang event sure to delight many festivalgoers.
More on that later.
We have another longstanding event that never seems to draw the crowd it should this weekend.
Elks Sports Day will celebrate its 39th edition Friday and Saturday night at the Elks Lodge, this time honoring former Ashland Tomcat football coach Vic Marsh.
The two-night event — reception on Friday and banquet on Saturday — is the equivalent to making Ashland’s sports hall of fame, so it’s really quite an honor.
The event is open to the public, even though, despite promoting that fact for years, many still seem to believe it’s an Elks-only function.
It is a program the Elks are proud to sponsor and the MVP is longtime chairman George Stout, who does everything except dish out the baked steak — another great Elks tradition — on the night of the banquet.
While there is a Sports Day committee, Stout is the one who does the grunt work to make the event happen. He takes pride in making sure everything runs smoothly for the honoree and his or her family, organizes how many meals are to be cooked, sells the program and does anything else that needs to be done.
On Friday night, there’s a time to mingle with a lot of friends you may not have seen for years. It’s completely casual attire. Leave the coat and ties at home.
Saturday night is a little more formal, but the speakers always entertain. This year, former Tomcat coach Herb Conley will be the speaker, along with Vic’s son, Scott, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a high school football coach. He is now in Indianapolis.
As for this year’s honoree, they knocked another one out of the park with the selection of Vic Marsh. He has given to this community his entire life. Not only did he coach your son in football, but he has been your neighbor since returning home after college.
In Ashland’s long and proud history, Vic Marsh has more wins than any other head coach. There’s something to be said for staying power in a high-profile position where it’s win or go home.
Vic Marsh won and won big. His signature season was the 1990 state championship year, but there’s much more to his career than that season. He built on the culture that represented Tomcat football established by Rex Miller, Jake Hallum, Herb Conley and others before them.
Marsh was smart enough to understand how much tradition plays a part in Ashland’s successes.
He fostered the feeling of players playing for something greater than themselves, of not letting down the tradition, of being proud to be a part of what came before you.
Marsh came to Ashland in 1981 and was handed the job after Mike Manley made a late spring exit from the position.
He proved through the years he was the right person to lead the proud program.
Marsh was always considered a “player’s coach” and was beloved by those he coached. They still drop by Elliott Avenue to say thank you to him.
Come out and support Vic Marsh for what he did in leading Ashland’s football program for 15 years and for also buying into his community for a lifetime.
A special friend of the Elks, whose name shall remain anonymous, made it possible for the entire Ashland Tomcat football team, coaches and their wives to come on Saturday night at no expense, according to Stout.
“He likes for these young football players to see Coach Marsh, a great Tomcat coach, on his special day and to witness the tradition of the Elks Sports Day program and see all the great people on the wall (where portraits of past honorees are),” Stout said. “It’s quite a nice gesture on his part and we appreciate him for doing it.”
Next year’s 40th Sports Day promises to be a special one. Stout will release the name of the honoree on Saturday night.
Summer Motion’s spectacular fireworks display will be after Sawyer Brown plays on the riverfront on the Fourth of July — around 10:15 p.m.
The gates to the riverfront will open about 4 p.m. that day and 5 p.m. for the other concert nights featuring Lover Boy (July 3) and Styx (July 5).
The Summer Motion 10K on July 6 will use a noncertified alternate route for its run because of bridge traffic problems.
There are still good people among us.
Mary Broomall said her husband, Edward, was riding his bicycle with the local cycling club in Raceland on Saturday when the seat broke and flipped him off the front of the bike.
He was riding behind the club and nobody noticed he had taken the spill.
Mary said a man stopped to help and called an ambulance while waiting with him. They didn’t catch the Good Samaritan’s name and wanted to thank him for his kindness.
So if you’re reading this, kind sir, thanks for this gracious act of kindness. The Broomalls are forever grateful.
Ed Broomall is recovering from the fall; he has a dislocated elbow.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.