PENDLETON — Sports fans in the south Madison County area might want to mark their calendars for May 20. It will be a night to relive memories as many of the legends of Pendleton Heights basketball will hit the court once more, this time for a good cause.
Bibles for Ballers is a locally run outreach program that combines athletic instruction and life lessons for area youth.
The group runs camps for children, which include basketball fundamentals, games and guest speakers as well as providing Bibles for the participants.
The camps are for students in second through sixth grades and take place in Pendleton and Lapel, as well as Daleville. Future camps are planned for Frankton.
“We do 45 minutes of skills training, fundamentals,” founder Bob Petty said. “We have a guest speaker come in — Kent Benson came in and spoke, Ray Tolbert, Kellen Dunham, have all come in. The guest speaks for about 15 minutes, and then we have 45 minutes for games, where the kids split into teams and play games — and of course, they love that part.”
The camps are scheduled around regular basketball season, in the spring and in the fall. The camps are in Lapel on Thursdays and Pendleton on Fridays, with participants receiving a T-shirt and a Bible.
“It (the Bible) is made of leather and the cover is just like a basketball,” Petty said. “It has the same material as a basketball and all the guest speakers autograph the Bibles for the kids.”
The May 20 event will feature an alumni Game as well as a legends game, and the rosters read like a “Who’s Who” of Arabian basketball.
Players in the legends game include Spencer Click, Mike Case, Eric Jones, Justin Rummell, Dustin Ritz, Brant Stock, Matt Obras, Austin Taylor, Kellen Dunham, Traver Griffin, Nick Rogers, Kyle Hupfer, Jay Hubble, Michael Norris, Matt Broughton, Lance Conway, Matt Wehner and Vaughn Duggins.
The availability of Dunham and Duggins is dependent on the two possibly playing postseason basketball.
The alumni game rosters include Josh Goodwin, Jason Manges, Chad Novinger, Nick Profitt, Matt Stauffer, Tom Stone, Ryan Cox, Isaac Gardener, Kenton Dunham, Jake Lewis, Reed Richardson, Max Grbic, Derek Wright, Brandon Rishe, Ryan Lee and Adam Caplinger.
Petty hopes to make this an annual fundraising event.
“It’s never been done in the school’s history,” he said. “We’re going to keep doing it every year. We buy uniforms and shooting shirts for the players. We’re going to make it an annual event.”
Petty says the group has a simple plan to make a difference in the communities in which they operate.
“We provide kids a fun, safe place to go after school where they can meet friends,” he said. “For a lot of parents, it’s pretty cheap child care. It’s 15 bucks a week and the kids love it; they get exercise and in the winter, they have a warm place to play. It’s fun, safe and they get to be active.”
In addition to the two games, the evening will have an all-star weekend feel; there will be a 3-point shooting contest and a dunk contest. Petty said he also is inviting another important group of people to the May 20 event.
“We are going to have former cheerleaders,” he said. “Nancy Custer, a former cheerleader, is helping, and I think we have 12 former cheerleaders signed up.”
Other former cheerleaders are welcome join the group, Petty said.
The evening will get underway at 5:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 5 p.m.
For more detailsabout Bibles for Ballers camps and the May 20 event, visit www.biblesforballers.com.