Cumberland Times-News

December 26, 2011

Amateur fighters set to try their luck in Toughman Contest

Annual event a major fundraiser for Frankfort High athletic boosters

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— SHORT GAP, W.Va. — The Frankfort High School Athletic Boosters will yet again reap the benefits of hosting the West Virginia Toughman Contest for amateur boxers.  

“This is a very good fundraiser for the boosters. This is a very controlled event. There are doctors on site and the ringside is very well run,” said Leo Day, boosters president, who noted that money is mainly made through concessions sales and a percentage is received through gate sales.

Mineral County sheriff’s deputies provide security for the event, said Jerry Thomas, president of West Virginia Sports Promotions Inc.

“The contest is licensed, sanctioned and supervised by the West Virginia State Athletic Commission,” said Thomas in an email to the Times-News. “People should attend the event because it is great entertainment and you can bring the entire family; it is well-organized and well-staffed.”

The money made from the event is used by the high school athletic department for uniforms and to fix athletic fields and buildings, Day said. “It’s used for basically anything the kids need, and the money is put in the general fund of the booster club,” said Day.

The contest is requested by the boosters, recommended by the principal, then approved by the Mineral County superintendent of schools and Board of Education, said Kevin Watson, school board president.

“The idea for the event came about when we were looking for a big fundraiser. Instead of having athletes going door to door selling candy bars, we have a couple of big fundraising events,” said Day. “We are the ones who put this contest on and we are the ones that do the payout.”

Once the event is finished, everyone pitches in to help clean up the gym, said Thomas.

“The final cleanup is completed by members of the Frankfort Athletic Boosters and the school custodians,” said Thomas.

This is the 33rd year for the Toughman Contest in West Virginia and nationally. The event is held at a variety of venues across the state. In Parkersburg and Elkins, it is held at the high school and in Logan County it’s held in the high school field house.

This year’s event is being sponsored by Mayhew Chevrolet, The Final Touch Embroidery and Screenprinting, Riverside Sports, WFRB, GO-106 and Network WV, according to a press release.

Prize money up to $12,000 are given in various weight divisions for men and women. As of last week, 83 men and six women had entered the contest. Ring girls will vie for cash prizes of $1,000 for the winner and $200 for second-, third- and fourth-place winners.

The 13th annual Toughman Contest at Frankfort will be held Jan. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the gymnasium. Tickets can be purchased at Blankenship’s Store in Wiley Ford, Parkview Liquors on Greene Street, Jolly Roger Liquors on National Highway, Grady’s One Stop in Fort Ashby and Chestnut Ridge Gas & Liquors in Grantsville. Tickets can also be purchased online at wvtoughman.com or by calling 800-296-3897.

Tickets are priced at $20 and $25, but Day declined to discuss how much revenue is raised or what percentage of sales is given to the boosters.

Another fundraiser for the boosters is Miss Falcon, which raises about $35,000 to $50,000, according to Day. About 12 to 15 girls are selected by the football players and boosters to raise money and the girl who raises the most money is crowned Miss Falcon and announced at the first home football game, usually held in September.

Ms. Falcon has been taking place every spring since 1976, according to Day.

For a complete list of participants and rules, view the Toughman website at www.wvtoughman.com.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.