For the 8th straight year, fans, athletes, family and friends gathered together for another exciting evening of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. In front of a sold out house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort the event featured an outstanding presentation of the Class of 2020 with homegrown superstars: Diego Corrales (posthumously), Randy Lerch, Trevor Matich, Fernando Vina and Gerald Willhite being honored. With the return of past inductees Dusty Baker, Bill Cartwright, James Owens, Leron Lee, Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, Loreto Garza, Pete Ranzany, Danielle Viglione and Debbie Meyer along with numerous other Hall of Fame nominees it was another great night of fun and tribute for athletes and fans alike.
We once again, featured the induction of a Special Olympics athlete. This year’s inductee was Jonathan Sparks who has been involved with Special Olympics for over 40 years participating in Swimming, Track & Field and Golf. He served as a Torch Bearer during the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, and was the Opening Ceremony emcee for the Summer Games in 2012 & 2013, and WinterFest in 2014. Jonathan is a dedicated volunteer: serving on the Sacramento Polar Plunge Committee, the SONC office in Sacramento and the Sacramento Food Bank. He was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2014. Jonathan’s many talents also include singing and public speaking.
Everyone knows Jonathan for his infectious smile and a great laugh. He is always so positive and encouraging to others, and is proud to represent Special Olympics to everyone he meets. Jonathan was extremely grateful for this honor and happy for everyone especially the other nominees: William Amey, Tara Campbell-Miller, Phillip Gonzales and Chris May).
Fans were treated to the comedy of Dennis Gaxiola who has become a staple at our annual celebration. He roasted the inductees with his comedic flair and had the audience and the inductees laughing. Those in attendance got an up close and personal look at each athlete’s family history and a behind the scenes feel of their storied careers. The true character of our athletes showed as they were so appreciative of their induction and support that was given by all their fans. Every inductee expressed true emotions toward all their family and friends who guided, supported and remained with them throughout their lives and careers.
It was another successful celebration that saw five more homegrown genuine people join the ranks as Sacramento’s greatest athletes; bringing a total of 40 into our fraternity of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard on this amazing evening: our staff, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, our inductees, their families and the fans for their continued support.
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Click here to see the list of inductees and their videos.
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