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Five Little League Teams Hit Grand Slam In Ace Hardware 'Fields For The Future' Contest

2006 Grand Prize Winners Announced
For the second consecutive year, hundreds of lucky Little League players will get their own “Field of Dreams” as Ace Hardware and Little League® International team up to renovate and rehabilitate their playing fields.

As winners of the 2006 Ace/Little League “Fields for the Future” contest, five Little League organizations across the country will receive $2,500 worth of Ace product and a day’s work to repair, renovate and beautify their baseball fields. These fields range from one that has been heavily damaged by three hurricanes to one that serves low-income families and one that is maintained primarily by a 76-year-old diehard fan.

National home improvement expert and Ace’s “Helpful Hardware Man” Lou Manfredini will lead the makeovers with his “Lou Crew,” which consists of an Ace retailer and a group of local volunteers.

In addition, Ace will donate $2,500 worth of Ace Gift Cards to the winning leagues, and Midwest Rake, an Ace vendor partner, will donate a special field maintenance product package valued at nearly $1,000 to help upkeep each field.

“Community ballparks sometimes go for years and years without repairs, not out of neglect, but rather because the finances necessary for the renovations are just not available,” said Frank Rothing, Ace advertising manager. “Through the ‘Fields for the Future’ program, Ace has an opportunity to help Little Leagues in its own communities and give back to its local customers.”

In October 2005, Ace asked Little League representatives to partner with their local Ace stores and nominate, in a short essay, a field in their community that requires significant rehab work. Ace received approximately 120 heart-warming entries describing the importance of the Little League fields and why the location needs a makeover from Ace. Entries were judged by Ace representatives based on the emotional significance of the essay, and the field’s use by and contribution to the community.

Grand prize winners (one from each of the Little League Divisions – Central, East, South, Southwest and West) are:

  • Beckum-Stapleton Little League, Milwaukee
    Mr. James Beckum, co-founder of Beckum-Stapleton Little League, may be 76 years old, but age hasn’t stopped him from working from dawn to dusk to try and maintain the league’s ball fields. He wants the players to have a “field like the pros,” so Ace will help Mr. Beckum give this field a much-needed makeover.
  • Rome National Little League, Rome, N.Y.
    This league caters to primarily low-income families, and while each year the league tries to make improvements to their fields, funds are always a challenge. Ace volunteers will help give the baseball fields an improved look.
  • John Knapp Little League, West Palm Beach, Fla.
    Hit hard by three major hurricanes over the past 13 months, the Little League fields are in extreme disrepair. Fencing is down, backstops are gone and dugouts don’t have benches. Ace will help the league make a complete turnaround.
  • Westbury Little League, Houston
    Westbury Little League won the Little League World Series in 1966, and, in celebration of their 40th anniversary championship season, would like to renovate their fields. With Ace’s help, they will replace damaged fences, construct new outfield walls, rebuild dugouts and make improvements to the concession stand.
  • Westchester Little League, Los Angeles
    Westchester Little League consists of two fields (one for the older children, and the “farm field,” designated for 6-8 year olds). Much of the league’s resources go toward the older divisions, and as a result, the farm field is in need of repair. Ace will help build new dugouts, have new base paths cut, assist with backstop maintenance and lay down new grass seed.

Ace Hardware Corp. is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry. Annual retail sales for Ace’s 4,700 hardware, home center and lumber and building materials locations top $13 billion. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace currently operates 15 distribution centers in the United States and its retailers’ stores are located in all 50 states and 70 countries. More information on Ace can be found at www.acehardware.com .