‘Celebrity Week’ will shine with 24 faces

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Features Editor

May 9, 2000 10 PM

There’s a saying, if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

People in and around Pike County will have an opportunity to get off the porch and run with the big dogs May 19 and 20 when the Baxter Foundation and BUSHCO Sports and Entertainment bring many of the big names in the National Football League to town.

Former Pike County High School three-sport star Fred Baxter of the New York Jets has planned a weekend of fun and fund raising activities. He is bringing along teammates from the Jets and friends from the Atlanta Falcons, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions to assist him in raising money to renovate the PCHS Doghouse. The Doghouse was the training and meeting place of the back-to-back state football champions in 1988 and ’89.

Baxter was a member of the ’88 team and knows how important it is for athletes to have excellent training facilities. In recent years, the Doghouse has fallen in disrepair and Baxter wants to raise enough money to restore the building and include a state-of-the -art training room.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said Baxter has supplied the city with a list of the athletes who will be participating in Pro Day with him. The list includes, Bryan Cox, Ray Lucas, Victor Green, Bobby Hamilton, Mo Lewis, D. Ward, Marvin Jones, A.D. Wurrell, Eric Green, Bobby Houston, Jason Ferguson, Pepper Johnson and Curtis Martin of the Jets and former Jet, Keyshawn Johnson who is now with Tampa Bay.

From the Atlanta Falcons, the list includes Ray Buchanan, Marty Carter, Tim Dwight, Bob Whitfield and Keith Brookine. Cordell Stewart of Pittsburgh, Dorsey Levens of Green Bay and Ryan Stewart of Detroit round out the NFL stars. However, one of the most recognizable athletes may not be a football player but an Olympian – Jackie Joyner Kersee.

"Fred is bringing a great lineup of athletes and to have this many professional athletes come to Pike County is really a big event," Ramage said. "There will be several opportunities for the public to meet the athletes beginning Friday night, May 19 at Relay for Life in Troy."

The meet and greet hour is planned for 8 until 9 p.m. at the Relay for Life site on the campus of Troy State University. From 9 until 11 p.m. at Trojan Arena, there will be a celebrity auction and a large variety of memorabilia will be on the block.

On Saturday, May 20, there will be a celebrity picnic from noon until 4 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. During the picnic there will be opportunities for autographs and for photos with the players.

A celebrity basketball game will pit the athletes against each other in a fast-paced, run and gun, shootout Saturday from 7 until 10 p.m. at Trojan Arena.

Topping off celebrity weekend will be an all-star party at the Holiday Inn in Troy from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

"The proceeds from all of the events will go to the renovation of the Doghouse except the autograph session at Relay for Life," Ramage said. "Half of the money raised there will go to the American Cancer Society."

The weekend is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever as sports fans from all across Southeast Alabama are expected to get off the porch and run with the Big Dogs of the NFL and far behind the Olympic speedster.

"This is a rare opportunity and we hope everyone will join us for a weekend of fun," Ramage said. "We are very appreciative of Fred’s efforts to give something back to the community where he grew up. And we also appreciate all of the athletes who are helping to make this weekend possible. This is just an example of the good things that professional athletes do to make this world a better place. We often hear the bad things that go on in athletics. This is one of the many good things."