Deputy Madness fundraiser to give DARE program a boost

Deputy Madness fundraiser to give DARE program a boost
By: 
Nathan Lilley
General Manager

North Callaway school staff members and Callaway County sheriff’s deputies will renew a one-year-old basketball rivalry March 20.

But don’t mistake these players for mere athletes competing for a good cause.

These are gladiators.

On Saturday, March 20, North Callaway High School will host the second annual Deputy Madness basketball game, which will pit North Callaway School staff and alumni against Callaway County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The game is back by popular demand, according to Zachary M. Carey, Callaway County deputy and North Callaway school resource officer. More than just some good-natured competition, the event raises awareness — and money — for the North Callaway DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.

“This all started in 2019 with a weekend text between Sheriff Chism, myself and reserve deputy Matt Huyser,” said Carey.

The three were discussing the need to start a cardio activity for the sheriff’s office, as well as get deputies together for some camaraderie. Through this conversation, the idea of a basketball game began to take form.

“With the first year of Deputy Madness, Deputy Huyser and I focused on getting the community, North Callaway School District, and the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office together,” said Carey. “We wanted to shoot for excitement with the community about the North Callaway DARE program as well.”

Thanks to admission, Deputy Madness attire sales and community donations, the event raised about $900 last year. Funds helped pay for 2021 DARE graduation shirts, graduation gifts and supplies for North Callaway DARE. Organizers have already doubled that amount in 2021, largely thanks to the support of area businesses.

“We are very ecstatic that we were able to obtain such an outpouring of support,” Carey said.

Teams are already gearing up for the event with weekend practices - and it’s all in the name of good-natured fun, right?

Of course!

Kevin O’Neal, North Callaway’s activities director, is busy building his team as is the sheriff’s office.

“O’Neal may be recruiting outside of parameters at times, but we cannot say that we have not been doing the same,” Carey said. “This year, we may have some special guests and attendees that will make for a great game.”

And not that anyone remembers, but last year, the North Callaway school staff and alumni won 48-46.

“Well, the first year, we did not want them to lose at home, of course,” Carey said with a laugh. “We tried to take it easy on them. But this year we are ready to put on a show and bring the Deputy Madness plaque home to the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office and the SRO (school resource officer) desk!”

Carey will be on the court for the sheriff’s team.

“I am looking forward to creating a little chaos in O’Neal’s game plan,” he said.

Among event partners is One Stop Customs in Auxvasse, which was the first to sign on as a sponsor last year. They collaborated with Carey and Huyser for logo design and owner Chris Moore and company donated several items and are a key part in the 2021 effort. Moore is a North Callaway alumni, as are most of the players.

Deputy Madness 2021 is March 20 beginning at 6 p.m. at North Callaway High School. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Admission is $3. Anyone purchasing and wearing a Deputy Madness T-shirt gets in at no charge. This year’s attire can be found on One Stop’s website, with a running clock counting down to game day. Watch The Mexico Ledger for more on the event as it approaches.

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