There is power in poultry for Port St. Joe High School athletics.
Willie Ramsey, president of the Shark 100 Club, presented athletic director/football coach John Palmer with a check for over $2,600, bringing to more than $8,000 the donations this year from the club which supports Tiger Sharks athletics.
Ramsey was closing the operational account for the 2013-2014 as the Shark 100 Club prepares to enter its 28th year. Over that time it has donated at last $135,000 to Port St. Joe High School athletics.
“We are definitely grateful for what they do for high school sports, not just football but all sports,” Palmer said.
The largest portion of the club’s contributions this year, as in every year, comes from the annual chicken dinner fundraiser.
This year’s event sold over 900 tickets, collecting nearly $6,000.
The Shark 100 Club picks up the tab for the meal, including chicken, coleslaw, baked beans and beverages.
The club also supplies the long-standing cooking team that brings the ingredients together, led by School Board member John Wright, do most of the cooking.
“So many people put so much into cooking those chicken dinners,” Ramsey said.
On top of that, the coaching staffs do of the serving.
Tickets to the fundraiser are sold in advance throughout the community. Each athletic team at the high school receives an allotment of tickets to sell.
“There can be a real competition among the sports and the players,” Palmer said. “We had so many kids participating; it worked really, really well. This year was very good – outstanding.
“We sold almost 900 tickets which is pretty amazing.”
The proceeds, represented by the check last week, are disbursed in turn among all sports teams whose athletes participate.
“There is sweat-equity in there for the athletes,” Ramsey said. “I think the number of tickets sold this year was testimony to all the athletes and coaches who know the value of what we are trying to do.”
Palmer said funds raised are divided among the sports programs based on several factors: involvement in the fundraiser and ability to bring in fans being two of the most prominent.
Some sports use the funds for offseason camps, other for basic operations and nearly all use the funds for equipment.
“That is becoming more and more expensive,” Palmer said.
The support from the community, even in lean years, Ramsey said, has been outstanding.
Ramsey noted even folks who might live out of town, who might not be able to collect their chicken dinners, will still send along a donation as if they had been one of the nearly 700 people who chowed down this past year.
“It always amazes me the support we get,” Ramsey said. “It’s all about the kids.
“We are kind of an under-the-radar club. We have been blessed to have so many people in the community who support what we are doing.”
Club membership this year was up, Ramsey said. After dipping during hard economic times during the middle of the last decade, more and more folks are becoming involved.
“It went well this year,” Ramsey said. “The number of members was up. It doesn’t rival some of the early years, but it was up and that is good.”
The Shark 100 Club sells memberships in four categories. After covering minor costs for items such as hats and t-shirts, the membership fees go entirely to Tiger Shark athletics.
Tiger Shark – for a donation of $100 the individual, businesses or organization receives one Shark 100 hat, two reserved seats to home football games, program recognition and reserved parking at football games.
Mako Shark – for a contribution of $250 an individual, businesses or organization receives two Shark 100 hats, two reserved seats at home football games, special program recognition and reserved parking at football games.
Bull Shark – for a contribution of $500, individuals, businesses or organizations receive two Shark 100 hats, two reserved seats at home football games, two reserved seats at home basketball games, special program recognition and reserved parking at football games.
Sand Shark – for a $50 donation, parents of Tiger Shark athletes receive one Shark 100 hat and program recognition.
Anyone interested in joining the Shark 100 Club, may submit their contribution to the Shark 100 Club, P.O. Box 524, Port St. Joe, FL 32457.