Terry F. Ristau Industrial Tournament turns 40

The Terry F. Ristau Industrial Memorial Softball Tournament celebrates its 40th anniversary this Aug. 16-18.

It’s about this time every summer in Warren County that businesses and teams begin putting together plans for softball – specifically the Terry F. Ristau Industrial Memorial Softball Tournament.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event, to take place Aug. 16-18, and to say that it is a Warren County staple would be an understatement.

“We’re grateful to get to coordinate the event again,” said John Papalia, Director of Chamber Operations and Tourism for the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry. “You don’t see many events that make it to 40.”

That milestone number speaks not only to Warren County’s love for softball, but also the camaraderie that comes with participating in the event. Every year dozens of businesses put teams together, set up tents, bring food and spend the weekend having a good time playing, watching and socializing.

Papalia and his team are taking the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ approach for an event that continues to bring people back from all over.

“We have people that plan trips back into town for it so that they don’t miss it,” Papalia said, speaking to the popularity of the tournament. “It’s truly amazing.”

There were 51 teams in the event last year, and Papalia said they are hoping to get about 60 for the 40th installment.

There will be a Men’s and a Co-Ed division, as per usual, with industrial and open brackets for both. The open brackets accommodate those that want to play, but maybe can’t put a full team together at their place of employment.

And it’s, of course, all for a great cause.

“The tournament itself will benefit the United Fund of Warren County,” noted Papalia. “They do an amazing job in our community and it is certainly a worthy cause.”

The cost of the tournament is $250 per team and all entry fee and rosters must be received no later than Friday, Aug. 9. They can be emailed to jpapalia@wccbi.org or mailed along with the entry fee payable to WCCBI at 308 Market St., Warren, PA, 16365. Questions can be directed to Papalia at 814-723-3050.

He also noted that they are hoping to ‘drive the true industrial side of things’ this year.

It’s an event steeped in tradition and one, as Papalia notes, wouldn’t be possible without the help of many.

“I think the volunteers look forward to it as much as the players,” he said. “We have a great group of umpries, many of whom come back every year, and we couldn’t do this without them. An event like this doesn’t function the way it does without volunteers. And the umpires, they are the backbone of this event. They make the event go smooth.”

He also noted the assistance of Jason Harkins, who helps with everything from field maintenance to bracketing.

Speaking of the bracketing, that will take place on Monday, Aug. 12 on the second floor of the Elks Club, and a team manager from each team must be present.

Brackets will be present during the tournament between Brown and Betts at the Betts Complex, which will be utilized in addition to Werner Park and Whirley Field.

Apart from that, everyone is just looking forward to a milestone year of this wonderful Warren tradition.

“This is just an event that everyone looks forward to,” Papalia said. “It’s just a fun weekend.”