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Big Sticks named Organization of the Year by Special Olympics ND

The Big Sticks earned the Organization of the Year by the SOND for the first time.

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Big Sticks owner Dave Ouellette (center) receiving the Organization of the Year award by the Special Olympics of North Dakota. (Photo courtesy of Jason Watson)

The city of Dickinson is known for giving a helping hand to those in need and not asking for anything in return. The Badlands Big Sticks live up to this throughout the summer months by supporting non-profit organizations at its home games.

In return, the team is entering the new year with a special gift by a special organization.

The Big Sticks honored the Special Olympics North Dakota in the recent 2020 season by hosting a night specifically for the organization, giving a portion of its ticket sales for the game and its 50-50 raffle ticket money to the cause, along with having special jerseys made for the players to wear which were then auctioned off with all the proceeds going to the SOND.

In total, the organization celebrated a beautiful night at the ball park and earned a total of $5,500.

As a result, the beloved Dickinson team was named the Organization of the Year by the SOND.

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"I guess it just goes to show that the Big Sticks are all about our community and we being able to help support an organization like Special Olympics North Dakota, just one of the things that we do," Jason Watson, the general manager of the Big Sticks said. "We try to give back to every organization that we can through our fundraising nights, 50-50 raffles at the game by those organizations, just being able to help raise funds for those non-profits."

In its three seasons, the Big Sticks has garnered significant awards and achievements including winning the Expedition League title in 2019. Following the 2020 season, the team was named the Organization of the Year by the Expedition League along with Watson earning Executive of the Year honors.

This is the first time in the organization's young history that it has obtained the award granted to them by the SOND.

Watson believes this award is more attributed to the fans and the community than the organization itself.

"(The Big Sticks organization) just allow the environment of the ball game atmosphere, but it's our community that helps raise that money," he said. "The community is such a big supporter and the back bone of what the Big Sticks are able to do year in and year out in being supportive and allowing us to continue to grow over the course of the first three years and continue to grow into years to come but we're not able to do what we do without the support of the community and fans and partnering businesses and all of those things in play. It's not just the Big Sticks, it's all about our supporters and all of the supporters in our community."

With the upcoming summer months approaching, both Watson and Dave Ouellette, the owner of the Big Sticks, are determined to continue to find new ways of giving back to the community and the non-profit organizations within the state of North Dakota.

"We can't thank our community, supporters and fans enough for the support that they've shown over the last three years and we're excited about what year four brings in 2021," Watson said.

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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