Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) benefited as a large crowd of spectators and fans of all ages gathered to enjoy the perfect spring weather and watch the 2007 Cops and Jocks Celebrity Softball Game held on Tuesday May 29th, at Mundy Park in Mt Juliet, TN. Organized by Lt. Wesley Neely of the Mount Juliet Police Department, this year celebrates the eighth year for the event, which enlists officers from Mt. Juliet, Metro Nashville, and both the TN and KY Highway Patrol along with many celebrities and professional sport athletes.
The fundraising event started as a result of a tragic automobile accident in 1998 when a drunk driver killed both Joyce and Jennifer Bennett of Mt Juliet while traveling on Lebanon Road. Besides bringing to the forefront the awareness of drinking and driving, the crowd and the participants of the event enjoyed entertainment on and off the field, chances to bid on one of a kind autographed items and a free after game concert by some of the performers who participated in the game.103 WKDF and its staff was big sponsor of the event along with Bridgestone Firestone Tires and Providence Marketplace. Play by play action by Keith Ingram and George Plaster kept the crowd entertained with additional help from 103 WKDF staff, Eddie Fox, Lisa Manning, Becca Walls, Bud Ford, Stunt boy Justin, David Reed, Billy Harper and Darlas Rai taking turns with the microphone as players swung at the ball or attempted to make a play on the ball diamond and keeping both the crowd and the players laughing and cheering.
Some of the fun included Tennessee Titans Cheerleader, Shannon Halters, taking her turn at home plate for her turn to swing and giving the players and the fans some cheerleader moves, the crowd chanted AMY GRANT, AMY GRANT to remind pitcher Vince Gill of his devotion to his wife as he smiled and gave everyone some moves of his own. Vince also got the crowd’s attention when he literally gave the shirt off his back to young player, Alex DeRiggi who caught a ball for his team and getting the player at bat out.Charlie Daniels, a Mt Juliet resident and big supporter of this event, once again donated an autographed violin to be auctioned off during the game to help raise funds for the awareness against drunk driving and the bidding rose higher and higher with Tennessee Titan, Donnie Nikkey, walking away with the prized possession. Many other items were also auctioned off, including a guitar autographed by all the celebrities who participated in the fundraising event, T-shirts which were also autographed and several other memorabilia items.Some of the players who participated this year included country artists such as Vince Gill, Andy Griggs, Erika Jo, Chris Young, Michael Visconti and Bill McCorvey of Buffalo Rome, Redd Hot Mamas, Dean Sams of Lonestar, Sage Keefer, Rhean Boyer- Jeremy Baxter and Marvin Evatt of Carolina Rain, Linda Davis, Ira Dean – Aubry Collins and Keith Burns of Trick Pony and Keith Anderson. Also among the celebrities playing were former Mrs. Tennessee, Ashley Eicher, Tennessee Titans Ken Amato, Casey Cramer, Donnie Nikkey as well as Titans Cheerleaders Shannon Halters, Lindsey Hamlett, Valerie McAllister, Jennifer Hill and Brooke Bailey, Music Row’s number one song plugger, Sherrill Blackman, News 2 Reporter Joe Dubin and many many others. The evening was highlighted with a free concert on the ball diamond held after the game concluded. The crowd was entertained by country newcomers, Sage Keefer and the boys bringing country back into country music, Buffalo Rome. The Redd Hot Mamas got the crowd on their feet with their upbeat songs and ended their set with a patriot song which included the American Flag being held as a backdrop which emotionally touched everyone in the crowd.
Chris Young surprised everyone and took the stage for several songs and stories and Trick Pony ended the concert with many antics and great music. Raffle drawings held at the end of the concert awarded those enjoying the free concert with movie tickets and popcorn and the big winner of the night was Alex DeRiggi who not only got Vince’s shirt (and had it autographed) but also won the autographed guitar.
(reprinted with permission Music News Nashville)