Roby Sharpe is almost never silent.
The boisterous, rambunctious, happy-go-lucky head coach of the YRHS senior football team and president of Yorkton Minor Football is well known throughout the community for his loud voice and infectious spirit.
But on Saturday, April 25, at the ninth annual Football Night in Saskatchewan, the impossible happened.
Roby Sharpe was speechless. “You know, I just don’t know what to say,” a somewhat emotional Sharpe told Yorkton This Week. “This community we have here, it’s the best. They come together and great things always happen.”
The great thing that Sharpe alludes to is the fact that in just over half an hour at Yorkton Minor Football’s ‘Football Night in Saskatchewan’ six different businesses or societies that are active within the community opened their pocketbooks and made a very large dent in the $452,690.00 (CAD) deficit that Yorkton Minor Football was faced with in regards to the building of their new community clubhouse.
In just 30 minutes at St. Mary’s Cultural Centre the nearly half a million deficit was reduced by $290,000.00 (CAD) thanks to the Cornerstone Credit Union ($15,000.00), Grain Millers, Inc. ($25,000.00), the Yorkton Lions Club ($50,000.00), Co-op ($50,000.00) the Saskatchewan Roughriders ($50,000.00) and last, but certainly not least, Richardson Pioneer and Oilseed ($100,000.00) stepping up to the plate and delivering a pinch-hit homerun.
“It feels unbelievable. I say it every year at pretty much every event we’ve tried to do, but our community is behind us 100% and its guys in our community, businessmen, businesses and people all getting together to get a project done,” offered Sharpe. “It’s almost like an old fashioned barn building. We’re not swinging hammers but these guys are digging in their pockets and making this happen out of the kindness of their hearts.
“What can you say but thank you over and over?”
The donations mean that only $162,690.00 (CAD) remains to be paid; a large amount of money to be sure, but not as daunting an amount as what Yorkton Minor Football had on their books just one day earlier.
But while the donations were certainly the big news at Football Night, they were certainly not the only things to happen.
Keynote speaker J.R. LaRose, who earlier in the week spoke to students at the YRHS (see related story), did a wonderful job speaking to the audience.
Former CFL star Will Loftus was once again in attendance, as was Jordan Matechuk and several other former CFL players.
Even the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, one Craig Reynolds, came up from Regina for the event.
A motorcycle courtesy of Harley Davidson of Yorkton was auctioned off, dinner was served and everyone in attendance was treated to a great night. “Every year we hold this, actually this is our ninth year in a row hosting Football Night,” mentioned Sharpe. “Every year I think that nothing can top the last one, but every year it does.
“If that trend continues, I can’t wait for next year’s tenth annual Football Night in Saskatchewan!”
Richardson steps up
Richardson Pioneer and Oilseed made the biggest impact at Football Night in Saskatchewan, donating $100,000.00 (CAD) through the Richardson Foundation to help Yorkton Minor Football pay for their community clubhouse.
As such, Richardson Oilseed Assistant Vice President of Operations Darrell Sobkow says that the community clubhouse will now be forever be known as the Richardson Community Clubhouse; something that Sobkow says the company is honoured by. “We are extremely proud to have our name associated with a great building,” said Sobkow immediately following Richardson’s large donation. “The change room helps of course because it gives people a place to change on site, it gives them locker rooms, washroom facilities. These things aren’t only for minor football but as the organization says it’s for the entire community.
“Whether you’re using the walking track, the tennis courts, the soccer fields and that’s what is so great about this project and why we’re so willing to be associated with it. It affects everyone in the community and we’re happy to help out the community in Yorkton any way we can.”