Maysville Merchant Night began eight years ago in an effort to support Maysville football and provide scholarships for athletes.
The event has raised more than $15,000 and distributed seven $1,000 scholarships in its first seven years as Troy Vallee, the event organizer, leans on football parents as well as his daughter, Haley, and Lora Sidwell to make the event successful.
The eighth edition will be held tonight when Maysville welcomes New Lexington to the Maysville Athletic Complex.
The cost is $5 for 10 tickets, and anyone purchasing a game program has a chance to get a set of free tickets. Volunteers will be wearing white T-shirts donated by Four Season Graphics and Johnny Nolan.
Vallee said 78 prizes totaling more than $4,000 were awarded in the first year. This year, there will be about 110 prizes worth around $9,000, and the group is hoping to surpass the $2,600 raised last season.
This year’s special guest from Ohio State is the “Buckeye Guy,” and there will be plenty of New Lex prizes in the mix, including shirts, hats and other items.
The event has awarded Maysville graduates with $1,000 scholarships, including Chase McFadden (class of 2007), Eric Kearsh (2008), Johnny Sprouse (2009), Chase Fisher (2010), Mikel Compston (2011), Joey Hammers (2012) and Dylan Evans (2013).
“This Maysville Merchant Night wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for all the help the local businesses have given us along with a few out of town businesses,” Vallee said.
Many local businesses continue to give to the program, including Domino’s Pizza, which has worked with the club the past four years to give a $250 scholarship to a senior of the opposing team.
New Lexington senior Clay Wolfe has earned this year’s award. Past winners of that scholarship include Sheridan’s Tyler Snider (2010), Tri-Valley’s Jacob White (2011) and John Glenn’s Jordan Halasi (2012).
Lisa Burkhart, who represents Domino’s, said awarding the scholarship follows what her father, Tom Johnson, instilled in her about education.
“My father always had a motto ‘No education was a waste,'” she said. “Any opportunity we get to help in the community, we are all about it. The chance to help further someone else’s education is a blessing. Maysville is a big supporter of ours, and it’s an honor to be able to do this.”
The 2013 prize list includes the top prize of a $500 value trip to the beautiful mountains in Tennessee for a five-night stay sponsored by Treasure Cove and a three-day trip to Chicago in October sponsored by the Fun Bus.
David Frick, who works in marketing for Fun Bus, said owner Rebecca Vaughn encourages opportunities to assist areas where the business serves customers. Fun Bus has donated trips for at least the past six years, according to Frick.
“Zanesville and Maysville are big parts of our customer base, and it’s important for us to give back to communities like that,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to help out a school district in one of our areas, and it’s good cause, especially with giving away scholarships.”
The Southtown Gym has donated a full gym membership, a $339 value, as well as other merchandise like a drawstring bag with a water bottle and T-shirt. Abbie Williams, a co-manager whose family has owned the business for three years, felt giving back was an easy decision since most of her family are Maysville graduates.
“We are proud of South Zanesville and want to see people succeed from the area,” Williams said. “Sports was something expected to be available for everyone growing up, and schools aren’t able to do as much of that these days. We want to continue to promote athletics and kids staying active.”
The Do-It Centers East-South stores have donated a gas grill and a saw. The people at Lake Isabella have donated a family pass, valuing $120, for a sixth straight year.
Shawn Merkle, the COO of Do-It Centers, has been part of the event since it started. Merkle, who also is the COO of Sunrise TV rentals, donated prizes from Sunrise in the early years, but Do-It Centers has been the main contributor since he stepped into that role five years ago.
“I live in the Maysville community and have a business there. I’m also a big time football fanatic,” said Merkle, whose son, Heath, played football and graduated from Maysville two years. “The real hats off goes to Troy. He has a full-time job, puts together this fundraiser and coaches girls basketball. He’s worked hard and deserves a lot of the credit.”