NELKE: Keep awards coming at North Idaho banquet

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They’ve been all over social media this week.

Photos proudly posted by area athletes of their trophies, plaques, certificates, etc., garnered from last Saturday’s North Idaho Sports Banquet at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.

Some took home more than others.

Post Falls High junior, Melody Kempton, for example, won so many awards — High School Female Athlete of the Year, as well as girls basketball and girls track and field sport winner in 5A/4A — that someone in her group probably had to walk home so she could fit all of her hardware in the car.

BUT EVERYBODY, it seemed, came away with something.

And that’s thanks to the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame committee. It would be easy for them to honor just the winners, and send everyone else home with a full stomach and a night of memories.

According to John Lynn, executive director of the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame, the committee has been doing this for at least the last 15 years.

College team and individual winners all receive trophies.

Individuals that are nominated all receive framed certificates.

High school winners in each individual sport all receive custom plaques.

Male and female high school athlete and coach winners receive trophies.

High school teams of the year receive custom plaques because they fit in their trophy cases better than trophies.

All team members that are present receive medals.

“Awards and free tickets to the nominated athletes and teams would not happen without the help of all our sponsors,” Lynn said.

Les Schwab, P1FCU, Dave Smith Motors, Parker Toyota, The Coeur d’Alene Press and Schneidmiller Realty are the group’s biggest business donors, he said.

Doc Lynn, he of the shocking pink blazer on banquet night, and previous executive director of the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame, donates $500 each year to the Jim and Marietta Lynn Scholarship ($1,000), given each year by a random draw at the end of the banquet. All the nominees’ names are placed in a hat and the winner needs to be present to win.

“The Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame members and the committee members are great sponsors, as well as the colleges and high school booster clubs,” Lynn said. “We have several $250 table sponsors as well. The Custom Den does all our trophies, plaques, and medals at a subsidized rate because Gary Everson is a longtime committee member.”

THE TOTAL cost of the awards runs around $3,500 per year.

The Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame is not exactly rolling in dough. Despite the generity of sponsors and other donors, the committee sometimes comes up a bit short in covering expenses. Lynn said the group is planning a “major capital campaign” for this summer and fall to try to bring in more money.

Hopefully the campaign is successful. Honoring as many as possible at the North Idaho Sports Banquet always seems like a good idea.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.

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