( This year's Softball tournament in Corbin will run from July 20-28, with games at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly. Teams entered this year are: Corbin, Caldwell Sox, Mayfield, Argonia, Anthony, Wellington, Dores and Commodores. Go out to Corbin for some ball and burgers!
Corbin softball tourney dates back to 1930's
by Amber Schmitz
This year's Softball tournament in Corbin will run from July 20-28, with games at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly. Teams entered this year are: Corbin, Caldwell Sox, Mayfield, Argonia, Anthony, Wellington, Dores and Commodores. Go out to Corbin for some ball and burgers!
Are you ready for some Corbin softball? How about one of their famous hamburgers? The Corbin softball tournament begins Sunday at their ballfield.
The tournament got its first start with the development of a ballfield west of the elevator in Corbin, Kan. in the 1930's. According to history handed down throughout the years in the Rice family, who is in charge of the tournament, this was not a great spot, as the long hit balls bounced off the elevators. Teams were reorganized, and a new location was chosen in the 1940's. Jerie Murphy, who lived south of Corbin, donated land on the south end of town. A backstop was installed, and much later, big lights were added.
Until 2009, an old, wooden scoreboard stood downfield, when a nice scoreboard was erected in honor of the late Bob and Scott Rice, former tournament directors. Originally, a little shack was built to cook hamburgers in, and Rocky Watts sold pop out of a big, round horse tank full of ice in front of the shack. In 1977, a portable concession stand was built by the men of Corbin and is still being used today.
Suzie (Rice) Yunker, daughter of Bob and Gwen Rice, was told there was an outstanding Corbin team before the war. Rice said some of the names mentioned on this team were: Porter Richards, LaRue Fowler, Bob Balaban, Dale Davidson, Merle Tackett, Dave and Vernie Cox, Red Stonehocker, and a guy called "Slusher." Team members in the '40s included: Pud Davidson, Frankie and Charley Kern, Deb Cox, Harry Gerberding, Marvin Wyckoff, Jack Whaley, Melvin Mirt, Calvin Blue, Lloyd Alan Stover, Carl and Dick Segraves, Marian Watts, Ervin Urban, Eldon Gracy, Bill Tackett, Bob Rice, Ralph Jordan, Maynard Shobe, Gary Ginn, Clark and Roger Rains, Marshall Love, Shorty Schmidt, Mick Eckermann, Dickie Crumbliss, and the list goes on and on.
Bob Rice was tournament director for many years before his death in 1994. His ever faithful scorekeeper was Clifford Countryman, who continued to keep score and do some announcing until his death in 2003. When Countryman passed away, some of the Rice family did announcing and scorekeeping, until the position was taken over by Leon Dreiling of Caldwell. Dreiling passed away earlier this year from cancer. After Rice's passing, the tournament kept going strong, under the leadership of Bob's eight children, who all assisted. Scott Rice was director for many years, until his tragic death in 2009. Bill and Brent Rice have been managers since then, with the assistance of brothers-in-law, Rick Roitman and Galen Yunker.
The concession stand is popular every year, as they feature Mayfield hamburgers. Over 1,000 hamburgers are sold during the week of the tournament, and many famous people have been pulled into that cook shack to serve up the burgers. The burgers are "famous" for being delicious, as they use Mayfield hamburger and have used the same grill since the tournament's beginning. The shack has been run by Bob's granddaughters, Kristin (Rice) White and Shanna (Knowles) Fairbanks for the last several years. Another granddaughter, Carmen (Shoffner) Hatfield, calls the teams and organizes the bracket. Gwen Rice, Bob's widow, sits in a lawn chair at every game and cheers on the teams. She was quoted last Sunday, as her kids were cleaning up the field for the upcoming tournament, that it does her heart good to know that these grandkids jump in and help keep this tradition going, and how proud their grandpa Bob would be. They definitely make this a family affair.
With Dreiling's passing, the tournament organizers will honor him by serving his special hamburger, calling it the Leon, with two patties and cheese on a plain bun. As Dreiling also loved playing different renditions of the Star Spangled Banner between games each night, they want to keep this tradition going.
Yunker wrote this tribute for Dreiling: "The old crow's nest seems a little quieter this ball season. For the past several years, the Corbin Ball Association has benefited from the booming voice of Leon Dreiling as our announcer/scorekeeper and music man. We lost Leon to cancer earlier this spring. Leon was pretty much a perfectionist, so there was never any question that the books were kept just right. He always stressed for the ballplayers and fans to not argue with the umpires. We would like to remember Leon tonight by playing some of his music and feature the "Leon Burger." The only pay Leon would take was his special free hamburger: two patties, cheese, bun, plain. We are selling the Leon Burger tonight. Leon also loved playing different renditions of the Star Spangled Banner between games each night, so we want to keep that tradition going also. We sure are missing Leon this week, and will send up some Bronco balloons in his honor."