Cutting Ceremony held Saturday
Tyson Memorial Sports Complex ready for action
Wanda English Burnett
Famous words that will be heard for decades to come thanks to
a winning team who worked together to make the Tyson Memorial
Sports Complex a reality.
The grand opening and dedication of the complex was held Saturday
morning, May 15 complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Versailles
Town Council, flag ceremony by the Versailles American Legion
Post 173 and the first ceremonial pitch thrown out by council
member Sue Meisberger.
All of this took place just before the opening season where
three different teams took to the fields to begin their summer
series headed up by Steve and Ashley Franklin. This year there
are 33 teams, 9 different divisions and nearly 400 youth participating,
according to Steve. He was excited about the new facility saying,
We couldnt have anything better.
As Donald Tankersley, park board president, cut the ribbon officially
opening the new complex, he said, It will be well used
for years to come. John Holzer, town board president noted,
Although its been a struggle, were seeing
it happen. He thanked the town employees, saying he was
very proud of all of their efforts with the project. Kevin Hensley
was praised for his dedication.
The flag was presented by legion member Jesse Westmeyer to John
Holzer, who noted, With sincere thanks and appreciation
I accept this beautiful and precious flag on behalf of the Versailles
Town Council and the Tyson Memorial Sports Complex. The
flag was then erected in a ceremony provided by the Versailles
The new sports complex that has been four years in the making
has seen many people working toward one common goal. It
was a group effort by a lot of people who just wanted to help
kids, noted Jerry Gilpin, one of the original board members
who initiated the concept.
The summer baseball leagues had formerly played on a much smaller
field at the Pangburn Park for more than 50 years.
Jeff Cornett, Jeff French, Jim Roepke, Shawn Halcomb, Brad Samples
and Von McGuire, were also on the initial board, according to
Gilpin. The board now consists of Donald Tankersley, president,
Jeff Cumberworth, Brad Samples, Dee Dee Fields, Andi Richter
and John Brison.
Right now there are three fields, with the fourth one in the
making for youth to play baseball, a new concession area and
restrooms. The flagpole is centrally located between the fields
that will soon be shared with soccer fields.
We have a lot of future goals, noted Cumberworth,
who is a park board member. He said the soccer fields are the
next to be developed as finances allow. There will be additional
restrooms and parking, basketball courts, and even tennis. Plans
are in the making to have walking trails that will go around
the sports complex and through a wooded area. The complex is
located at 1700 County Road 50 W just off Tanglewood Road. Of
course all of the additions will depend on money. They would
like to have the fields lighted, but that would cost about a
half million dollars.
James Tyson still giving
According to information presented at the ceremony, James Henry
Tyson donated 18,000 shares of Walgreen stock in the early 1900s.
This established the Tyson Fund that has impacted the Versailles
community in so many ways.
The fund has helped to build the Methodist Church, library,
waterworks, and many other community programs and activities
that are still enjoyed today.
The board members of the fund were thanked for their generous
grant to the sport complex.
Also giving to the project was the Rising Sun Regional Foundation.
History of Pangburn Park
Before Pangburn Park, the location of hundreds of baseball games
over the years, there was just an empty field in the town of
Versailles. That field became the current Pangburn Park in 1952,
thanks to the late Gus Moorhead, who generated interest in Versailles
for a summer youth baseball league in the early 1950s.
According to information presented by Dee Dee Fields, Mr. Moorhead
teamed up with Bill Pangburn, who was a local salesman, selling
janitorial supplies to area schools.
Pangburn raised a lot of money through his local and business
contacts that was initially used to build and run the park.
He volunteered his time and talents to initially plan the erection
of the park and afterwards to run the operational activities
there. He was the first town park board member of record. It
was noted that Pangburn owned the park and later donated it
to the town.
Roscoe Lefty Sutherlin was a local engineer who
volunteered to design the layout for the ballpark. It was noted
that many people volunteered physical labor to turn the field
into a ballpark.
The Versailles Lions Club and American Legion Post #173 were
also instrumental in the building of the park. The field was
completed in 1952 and in 1953 the first Little League team was
born in Versailles.
The town hired Mr. Moorhead in 1954 to operate the summer youth
baseball program. There were three teams that year in the Little
League age category. A few years later, the Knothole League
age category was added and the program began to grow.
Mr. Moorheads wife, Mary Margaret, was in attendance at
the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday and said it was quite
impressive to see the facility. She recalled the formative years
when her husband would have the players pick up rocks before
each game to help clear the field. He would also pile the players
in a red pickup truck owned by the town to take them to games
played out of town.
While a lot has changed over the years, people in the area are
still passionate about sporting events for youth. Much more
than a game is played at the sports complex. Its about
the spirit of cooperation and teamwork that will be remembered
long after the game is over.
Town council members, John Holzer, Dee Dee Benkie, and Sue Meisberger,
were in attendance at the opening day ceremony. Benkie told
The Versailles Republican, We have
a lot of big improvement projects for Versailles in the works.
The sports complex is just a home run and was made possible
with a great team! She gave a special thanks to the park
board for their commitment and continued hard work on the project
as well as Jerry Gilpin who has been a strong ally all along.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT
Pictured above from left are Sue Meisberger, Versailles
Town Council member, Don Tankersley, Versailles Park Board
President, and John Holzer, Versailles Town Council President,
as they cut the ribbon for the Tyson Memorial Sports Complex
on Saturday, May 15. Pictured below, Versailles American
Legion member, Jesse Westmeyer, left, is assisted by Holzer
as they raise the flag given to the complex by the legion
at the ceremony on Saturday.