November 22, 2019
In the Bismarck-Mandan community, softball is nearly synonymous with the McQuade family, the driving force behind the largest nonprofit, single weekend slowpitch softball tournament in the U.S.
The McQuade family, along with the McQuade Distributing Company and McQuade Charity Softball Board, recently made a $100,000 gift to the Sanford Health Foundation to start the McQuade Softball Academy at Sanford POWER. The program will give area youth the chance to improve their skills in the sport all year long.
“We really appreciate the opportunity for an organization like Sanford POWER to enhance the growth of softball in the area,” Shannon McQuade-Ely said. “These young athletes that will go through the academy are those players that will be playing in our charity tournament down the road.
“We just celebrated our 44th tournament, and it’s because of programs like this that we can look forward to many more.”
Shannon’s grandfather, Sam McQuade Sr., founded the Sam McQuade Sr./Budweiser Charity Softball Tournament in 1976. He was inspired by his son Sean McQuade, who had special needs, and wanted to support others with similar disabilities. Over the years, the tournament has grown from 103 teams to 464 teams at the 2019 event.
Continuing a legacy
Sam Sr.’s legacy not only continues through the tournament he founded but the new softball academy at Sanford POWER as well.
Scheduled to launch in January 2020, the performance-training program will help young athletes enhance skill, build character and develop softball techniques. The six-week program, available to players age 8 and older, will focus on hitting, fielding and pitching.
“We want to help young athletes grow their love of the sport,” Shannon said. “Training year-round gives them an extra advantage, so they can go on to play in high school, college and beyond.”
The program also gives area youth the opportunity to experience the healthy role sports can play in their lives by teaching self-discipline, teamwork, leadership and strategic thinking skills while building self-confidence.
“Sports play a bigger role in fostering these young athletes to become great leaders in whatever they do,” Shannon said. “By showing them the community supports and believes in them, we have a better chance to keep them here. Fostering youth is an easy way to grow the community we live in and benefit from.”
Thank you to the McQuade family – Sam McQuade Jr. and Maryvonne McQuade, Shannon McQuade-Ely and Dale Ely – McQuade Distributing Company and McQuade Softball Charity Board for making the softball academy possible.
Participants can register for the program by calling Sanford POWER in Bismarck at (701) 323-1125. To support Sanford POWER, contact the Foundation team at (701) 323-8450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.