Home Sports Local Sports Volunteers welcome for Hike It and Spike It

Volunteers welcome for Hike It and Spike It

Registration at last year’s Hike It and Spike It 4-on-4 charity flag football tournament. Volunteers will be needed again this year to register the scores of attendants expected to be on hand. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

When Kristen Salyards tells people she’s responsible for organizing the hundreds of volunteers who help out during Hike It and Spike It, one may get a picture of chaos and confusion. Listen to her closely and you will get a different picture.

The 4-on-4 charity flag football tournament is celebrating its 23rd year Memorial Day weekend at the Cielo Grande Recreation Area and Salyards said her job is easy as many of the volunteers are repeat customers.

“It’s a really fun weekend to get out into the community and represent our community well to thousands of people that come from out of town,” said Salyards.

The proceeds from Hike It and Spike It go to the United Way of Chaves County and even though most volunteers have helped before, Salyards feels there’s always room for more as people are needed to help register teams, pick up trash and clean up once the event wraps up.

Salyards has been involved with the tournament for eight years and this marks the fifth year that she has taken care of registration and volunteers.

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“I worked for a nonprofit that was a United Way agency and was stoked to be involved with something that was going to benefit the agency that I was working with and all of our nonprofits in town; and we have such a terrific group of nonprofit agencies in town. I was so excited to help in any way,” said Salyards.

Salyards first venture with Hike It and Spike It came from attending with her husband.

“I was blown away at how amazing the tournament is,” Salyards said.

She was floored at how everyone involved worked as a cohesive group and how people did their work.

The next year, Salyards decided to become a participant by signing up helpers.

“I love it,” Salyards said. “I don’t look at myself as the one in charge. I just get to work with a great group of people.”

In late May, Cielo Grande becomes Salyards’ second home as she and her volunteers spend nearly 12 hours a day making sure things go off without a hitch.

Typically on Fridays, the volunteers prepare goody bags for everyone participating and then registration takes place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We register 2,500 people during those hours,” Salyards said. “I’m very proud of my registration crew. They start with a smile and (will) be excited about the weekend.”

Saturday starts early for the volunteers arriving around 5:30 a.m. and getting ready for 7 a.m. registration. Opening ceremonies start at 8 a.m. and then the action starts afterward.

On the last day of the tournament, Salyards said the focus shifts into a different direction as volunteers arrive by 6:30 a.m., and most of the time is spent redoing player’s wristbands that may have gotten lost the night before. Awards are also handed out and the action wraps up by 6 p.m. and an hour later clean-up starts.

Salyards’ help isn’t limited to just individual members of the Roswell community. For the last three years, the national champion Charlie’s Angels dance team from Roswell High School have offered their assistance.

“I just reached out to coach Kim (Castro) and asked her (for help) and she said ‘Yeah, we’d love to be involved.’ They are my go-to people and they are awesome,” said Salyards.

Help isn’t limited to the students as Salyards also gets some back up from the parents.

“They’ll help sit down and register,” said Salyards. “They’ll help get water bottles. Whatever they need, it’s a great group of parents. The dancers and their parents, they do a great job.”

Also providing major support is the New Mexico National Guard’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy located in Roswell. Salyards said cadets generally can be found at Cielo Grande days before the tournament starts.

“They help with set up,” said Salyards. “Moving tables and chairs and putting up signs.”

The cadets also provide a valuable service on game day for the officiating crews.

“Each field has a tent for the officials and their stuff,” said Salyards. “So there’s Youth ChalleNGe that guards all of their things and takes score. They are called ‘The Guardians of the Canopies’ and they are a good asset to the officials and the people that are managing all of the games.”

People interested in volunteering can stop by the Hike It and Spike It Facebook page or roswellgridiron.com.

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