ROCKINGHAM — A grassroots effort is being made to help the Richmond Senior High School Booster Club grow during the 2023-24 sports calendar.
When Mike Way was hired as the school’s athletic director in July, one of his primary short-term goals was to expand the Booster Club and use that growth to impact all of Richmond’s varsity and junior varsity programs.
Currently there are over 30 total teams which compete during the fall, winter or spring sports seasons.
Working in conjunction with Booster Club president Patrick Chappell, who has been in charge since 2010, the first initiative in the early going is to get more community members to join.
“The Booster Club was established with the purpose of promotion, encouragement and support of all phases of all athletics at Richmond,” Chappell said. “Our objective is to work closely with Coach Way to fulfill the needs of all athletic sports at the high school and local middle schools.
“The new school year is upon us and it’s time for Raider sports fans to get their Booster Club memberships. This year, we really want to see our numbers grow so we can help all of our student-athletes.”
Booster Club passes are $75 apiece and allow one admittance per pass to all regular-season home games for all sports through the end of the school year, except for varsity football.
“It’s a great opportunity for fans to support Richmond’s sports teams and it basically pays for itself,” Way explained. “Sporting events are now $8 a person, so if someone attends 10 sporting events throughout the year, whether it’s soccer, baseball, softball or volleyball, it’s worth it.”
A common misconception is that the Richmond Booster Club only benefits the football program.
While funding is provided to the football team, the membership passes directly impact every other sport on campus, including non-revenue programs like bowling, cross country, golf and tennis.
Over the past couple of years, the Booster Club has helped pay for the tennis court’s renovation, added funding for the baseball team’s indoor hitting facility and purchased a John Deere gator for athletic trainer Mitch Hadinger to use to go between each sporting event.
Chappell and Way expressed that with a larger membership, more projects can be completed in the future.
Their belief for that to happen is simple — to hit the ground running and use an old-school approach of reaching out to the community and get local fans to buy into their vision.
Aside from supporting Richmond’s student-athletes, the Booster Club also helps aid Cordova, Ellerbe, Hamlet and Rockingham middle schools.
A part of that inclusion is to have several middle school sporting events held on the playing fields at Richmond through 2023-24.
The Booster Club also sells sponsorships for the “Fabulous 50” board, located near the school’s field house and the east end zone of the football stadium.
Slots are $350 and include the names of individuals or local businesses, with each purchase getting two season tickets for varsity football.
Football stadium signs can also be purchased through the Booster Club that advertise within the stadium. They are $2K for a new sponsorship sign and $1K for a renewal.
Funds raised from the “Fabulous 50” board and the stadium sponsor boards are also dispersed “across the board” to all athletic programs.
One upcoming project that needs to be addressed is purchasing an all-season triplex mower that can be used to efficiently cut the grounds of Richmond’s playing fields.
Going beyond just the playing surfaces, the Booster Club also awards two $500 scholarships each school year to student-athletes. Chappell said the only qualification is for applicants to have been actively involved with Richmond athletics while in high school.
Since Way has taken over the athletics department, a new committee of invested community members has been created to help energize, plan and grow the Booster Club.
They include Chappell and Way, Brian Baucom, Brent Garner, Joel Howard, Vagas Jackson, Jamie Lambeth, Danny Lampley and Chad Woody.
Booster Club passes can be purchased in the main office at Richmond. Points of contact are also the aforementioned Booster Club committee members.
Other places around the community include Family Pharmacy and Medical Center Pharmacy in Rockingham, as well as Convenience Corner in Hamlet.
Passes can be purchased at any time during the upcoming school year. Richmond’s fall season officially opens on Monday, as the boys’ soccer and volleyball teams are set for their first matches.