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Dinner on the Diamond goes indoors, but still a big success

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | June 7, 2022 7:00 AM

The 2022 version of Dinner on the Diamond may not have occurred at Lee Gehring Memorial Field, but it was a rousing success.

The Libby Loggers American Legion Post 97 baseball team held its annual fundraiser Friday night at the Libby Memorial Events Center and they sold a record 250 tickets at $40 each.

Threatening weather and a few leaky canopies forced Loggers manager Kelly Morford to make the call to move the event.

“We didn’t think it was a great idea for water to be dripping on everyone’s prime rib dinner,” Morford said with a laugh.

Eighty tickets were sold in 2014, the event’s first year, according to Legion Board President Dr. Scott Foss.

Morford explained the growing fundraiser helps pay for the operations of the team, about $35,000 annually.

“There are a lot of expenses and we do a lot of traveling,” Morford said. “We’re always overwhelmed by the community support we get. We couldn’t provide the experience for the boys without it.”

The Loggers are headed for the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, in a few weeks. Morford said they’d play some games on the way before getting to watch the nation’s best battle for the Division I national championship.

A good amount of that community support comes from Morford’s parents, John and Debbie Morford, as well as Gary and Deveny Fjelstad and Keith and Deb Guenther. They donated all the food for the event, including 21 whole ribeyes amounting to more than 200 pounds of scrumptious, smoked meat.

Morford was the master chef for the event. He used a dry rub on the meat and it was then smoked for about 10-12 hours Friday before being sliced and served to the attendees as well as the volunteers who served food and dessert.

Loggers players and their families were a large part of the volunteer crew.

The Loggers are also holding raffles for two rifles and a lounge wagon which includes a Logger prize package. One of the rifles is a 7mm Weatherby Vanguard with a scope and the other is a .17 caliber HMR with a scope and sling. The guns were donated by the Switchback Bar and Grill and Robin Swimley - Glacier Life and Financial.

Tickets are available at the front gate at Loggers home games. The drawings will be held on June 26 at the Big Bucks Tournament.

A silent auction was also held, which included baby back ribs, home-baked goods and other things. But the most interesting item in the auction was a home plate floor lamp, built by Alan Osborn, father of Loggers player Brett Osborn.

Alan wrote a note explaining his inspiration for the lamp. After the 2021 Dinner on the Diamond, he came up with the idea.

“I got John Vullo of Vullo Bat Company, which has been a great supporter of the Loggers over the years, to donate two blemished bats,” Alan wrote.

The base of the lamp was a piece of black cherry wood that Alan and his father harvested from a tree they cut down on their Ohio farm more than 40 years ago.

“I cut it into two pieces and biscuit-joined it into the shape of a home plate,” Alan wrote.

The piece was topped off by a custom-made lampshade with the Loggers logo.

On the field, the Loggers next home game is scheduled for Wednesday when the B team takes on Eureka. The A team is scheduled to play Kalispell Friday.