GRANGER TWP. — Backup plans can save the day — and keep a tradition alive.
That’s what happened Saturday for the fifth annual Raymond Biegel Memorial Tournament, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Ohio Medina County.
The event was originally scheduled as an all-day softball tournament at Blakslee Park on Weymouth Road in Medina. Wet fields ruined that plan, so the fundraiser was moved to The Medina County Achievement Center on Windfall Road in Granger Township.
Instead of softball, Special Olympians played volleyball and cornhole. The event, as originally planned, included a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. All the money raised will go toward athlete expenses related to Special Olympics Ohio, including out-of-town accommodations, food and registration fees.
Special Olympics Ohio is scheduled for June 28, 29 and 30 in Columbus.
Bill and Kellie Biegel, organizers of Saturday’s memorial tournament, hoped the event would raise at least as much money as last year, when it brought in $53,000.
One of the families participating in the fundraiser Saturday was the Vadinis of Brunswick. Dominic Vadini, 32, is a champion Special Olympics powerlifter, but he didn’t start competing until about six years ago.
“It was great,” Dominic’s mom, Mary Vadini, said. “We always wanted him to find something he loved to do and keep him active.”
In 2018, Dominic took second place overall in powerlifting at Special Olympics Ohio. In previous years, he won gold medals in the sport. He can deadlift 410 pounds and bench-press 245 pounds.
Steve Vadini, Dominic’s father, said his son also plays basketball, softball and flag football in Special Olympics. His softball team has won a state championship.
“Special Olympics has had such a positive impact on his life,” Steve Vadini said. “He’s made new friends, and it has helped him socially.”
Also at Saturday’s fundraiser, Mason Schreck, a tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals, and his wife, Ally Schreck, signed autographs. Schreck is a Medina native.
Meanwhile, raffle prizes included four Ohio State University football tickets, along with a chauffeur ride to and from Columbus in a recreational vehicle.
Other prizes included Browns, Cavaliers and Indians tickets, golf packages and a bathroom remodel kit from The Cleveland Plumbing Supply Co.
This year’s tournament was dedicated to the late Kay Gaishauser, a longtime Special Olympics supporter who recently died of cancer. Her daughter Rachel competes in Special Olympics.