Sports celebs to join Special Olympics athletes on court for fundraiser

Grays Harbor Hawks are hosting 12th annual celebrity basketball game, silent auction

The Grays Harbor Hawks will hit the basketball court March 9 in Hoquiam accompanied by a group of celebrities.

The game is part of a fundraising event to pay for equipment, travel and venue costs for the Hawks, a group of 150 athletes that make up the local chapter of Special Olympics Washington.

From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the Hoquiam High School gym, celebrities — from former Seattle Seahawks players to pro wrestlers to the voice of the Seattle Sounders — will join Hawks players on the court while fans and attendees can peruse silent auction items that will help the Hawks keep playing.

Mary White, a fundraising co-chair with the Grays Harbor Hawks, said the 12th rendition of the event this year is the second time big-name celebrities, at least in Washington, have attended.

“Last year was the first year for all these professional athletes to come down,” White said. “It just really rose the level.”

This year’s celebrity list includes former Seahawks Norm Johnson, Lofa Tatupu and Randall Morris, pro bodybuilder Jeanie Welker, former Texas Rangers Pitcher Gerald Smiley, former Washington Huskies footballer Mario Bailey, local MMA fighter Jordan Harrington, University of Oregon Women’s Basketball Coach Tre Simmons, Seattle Sounders field host Ken Carson, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk.

“Not only do our Grays Harbor Hawks play sports and compete together, but it’s also a social outlet for people with disabilities,” White said. “It’s really important they have those opportunities.”

White said last year’s event rose a little more than $30,000. The vast majority of funds for activities of the Hawks are raised locally, she said.

The event will feature a smattering of silent and live auction items, including Mariners, Sounders and Seahawks tickets, charter fishing trips, hotel and casino stays and sports memorabilia.

The live auction will occur at halftime of the basketball game, which will have teams mixed with Grays Harbor Hawks players and celebrities. There will also be individual skills events throughout the day.

The Hawks will also be recognizing Hall of Fame members.

“It is an all-encompassing day for our organization,” White said.

Tickets are $5 for general admission or $30 for VIP, which allows access to a reception after the game with the celebrities with light snacks and time for pictures and autographs.