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Croquet tournament takes to the field Saturday

By Robin Y. Richardson
June 3, 2010 at 2:03 a.m.

Event swings a mallet to raise funds for the Starr Home

Players, garbed in all white, will return to East Texas Baptist University's field Saturday to vie in the 17th annual Wicket Wicket World of Croquet tournament.

The tournament, which starts at 9 a.m., is sponsored by the Friends of the Starr Home. Proceeds will benefit the Starr Family Home State Historical Site, 407 West Travis St.

"I'm always in need of players and officials," said Marjorie Perkins, president of the Friends group. "There's a lot to be done with a croquet tournament."

Ms. Perkins came up with the idea years ago as a fundraiser for the historical site. Since, the tournament has attracted several other towns including Jefferson, Shreveport, La., and Texarkana, who have sought her help to model the fundraiser.

"We've done it for 17 years and it's proved to be a (success)," she said.

The goal this year is to have 20 teams. Sponsors are also needed.

It costs $250 to sponsor a field, $150 to sponsor a stake, $100 to sponsor a wicket and $100 to sponsor a team.

"We accept any donations," said Ms. Perkins.

Following the preliminary games at ETBU, participants will have lunch. The play-off games between the final four teams will follow. The two remaining teams will then play for the champion title.

The last two years, Ms. Perkins' grandson, Bryant Perkins, and teammate, Orelio Ortiz, have won first place. The two represented Jean Taylor Law Firm last year. Andrew Kelehan and Josh Smith took second place last year, representing Central Perks.

"It's a beautiful thing to see," Ms. Perkins said of the tournament. "ETBU has been gracious to us. They always make the grounds so pretty."

Funds raised go toward preservation efforts of the site and its articles.

"We have some textile there; some of the clothing is very fragile," said Ms. Perkins. "We'd like to have a replica of a dress of Mrs. Clapp, Mrs. Starr's mother's."

She said the matriarch is wearing the dress in a picture hanging in the parlor of the Starr home.

"For us to be able to tell history and show it for our young people, it (costs money)," she said.

Funds also aide the Junior Starrs program.

"We hope they will be the little preservationists of tomorrow," she said.

To become a sponsor or participate in the tournament, call Ms. Perkins at 903-938-4568.



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