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Crook County Booster Club to hold its annual Athlete of the Year Banquet on June 1

The Crook County Booster Club is changing things up a bit when they hold their annual Athlete of the Year Dinner.

It will once again honor one male and one female high school senior as athlete of the year, just like the previous year when the club launched the dinner.

But this time, they are moving out of the Crook County High School auditorium and taking the event outdoors, setting up under a large white tent at Ochoco Creek Park, right behind the Prineville swimming pool.

"We wanted to make it a little bit different, a little bit more unique," said Bryan Iverson, the Booster Club's treasurer. "It makes it kind of fun."

The Athlete of the Year Dinner was started last spring when the Booster Club decided to do more than just give out scholarships to local athletes.

"We created what we call the Athlete of the Year and award a larger scholarship of $1,500 to a male and female as well as give scholarships to other kids who were nominated," Iverson explained.

A committee comprised of a Booster Club member, the school district's athletic director, a school board member, teachers and community members nominate athletes and then decide who deserves the top honor.

"They basically take the merits of the student athlete and debate to see who was the most outstanding for that school year," Iverson said. "A lot of things are taken into account."

The criteria include athletic prowess, of course, but also other factors like performance in school, character and more.

Last year, the committee considered eight students, but this time there are 13.

"This year, it was a pretty tough field," Iverson said, noting that the list was whittled down from an even larger list of athletes nominated by high school coaches.

Rosendin Electric is the title sponsor of the June 1 event, which will feature a New York steak dinner and banquet food courtesy of Crossroads BBQ Pit & Pub. The dinner will serve as a fundraiser for the Booster Club, with tickets available for $20 or $150 for six tickets. Businesses can sponsor a table for $150.

The money raised by the event will help cover the cost of the dinner, and any remaining proceeds will roll into scholarship funds for the next school year event.

"I would say it is half fundraiser and half celebration of these senior athletes as we send them off into the next phase of their life," Iverson remarked.

Thanks to business contributions to the Booster Club throughout the course of the year, the Booster Club will be giving away more than $9,000 in scholarships to the Athlete of the Year winners and other nominees.

"We are pretty excited about that," Iverson said.

In addition to recognizing Athlete of the Year winners and nominees, the Booster Club will be giving awards to 12-sport athletes. Students who have participated in a different sport each season of each year in school are pretty rare, Iverson said, and the Booster Club wants to recognize those kids "who basically do it all."

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Foundry Four Coffee + Whiskey or the Central Oregonian. And Iverson and other Booster Club members hope they sell a bunch.

"Supporting new events and our high school athletes is pretty important, and we hope that the families of the kids who are nominated show up in force," Iverson said.

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