Friends gather for food, fundraising, fellowship and washer flinging: The Randolph/Coats Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser

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The second annual Bell County Youth Fair Scholarship Fund in the names of Lowell Randoph and Kevin Coats took place at Schoepf’s Backyard in Belton last Saturday.

The washers tournament, complete with western belt buckles for the first place team, had 48 teams enter the double-elimination event.

The rain did its best to try and spoil the mood of the attendees of the event. At 3:30 p.m., play was suspended to let the thunderstorms pass. Some gathered under the stage overhang and some gathered under the food shelters. Several hearty souls opted to play in the rain-gathered puddles and even a couple was seen dancing in the rain.

But the rain did not drive one person off. Popular Belton Tiger great Jeff Parker and his auctioneering friends held a live auction that raised in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the BCYF Scholarship Fund in the names of Randolph and Coats.

Members of the Randolph and Coats families were on hand, greeting attendees, raising funds via t-shirt sales and a silent auction.

As wallets gleefully opened and wonderful items that were donated were sold in support of the scholarship fund, the competitive bunch worked its way down to three teams. Nolan Smith and Mickie Butler, Sr. played Randy Blair and Roger Anderson in the loser’s bracket final. Blair and Anderson won, which earned them the right to take on Adam Glazener and Ty Butler. Glazener and Butler went undefeated through the winner’s bracket, meaning that Anderson and Blair would need to win twice to capture the buckles.

Anderson and Blair won the first game, which forced a “winner-take-all” scenario.

The finish made for high-drama. But in the end, Glazener and Butler captured the title. The Randolph and Coats families gathered to take pictures with all three of the washer tournament final teams.

The fundraiser ended shortly before nightfall, which may have been a couple of hours later than people prepared for. But that extra couple of hours helped bring more people together for an event that truly exceeded all expectations.