YAKIMA, Wash. -- The second weekend in June was a special one for the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Central Washington sports community.
The Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame honored its first class of inductees June 9 during an inaugural event downtown.
Overnight showers brought cooler temperatures to the area and the sky remained murky with intermittent rain continuing late Saturday morning. While wind gusts and chilly air remained, the clouds cleared just in time for a great Saturday night.
As classic and other souped-up cars cruised Yakima Avenue, sports stars, family, friends and other enthusiasts gathered inside the Yakima Convention Center.
Music provided by Jayleigh Ann & the Lost Boys accompanied an evening of food and drinks before eight male and one female athletes were acknowledged for their achievements and contributions to sports.
Baseball legend Mel Stottlemyre Sr. and heavyweight boxer Pete Rademacher were among those honored, along with legendary baseball coach Bobo Brayton and basketball coach Dean Nicholson. Olympic gold medal alpine skier Phil Mahre also was named to the 2018 class of inductees, along with track and field star Kelly Blair LaBounty, baseball and basketball great Gene Conley, famed jockey Russell Baze and Motocross all-star Jim Pomeroy.
Former NFL player Craig Kupp emceed the night, which was attended by sports lovers from across the Valley and beyond.
At one table, Gary Pomeroy, Kimberly Heether, Brent Pomeroy and Lynette Pomeroy enjoyed an assortment of small plate selections while Deb LaFave and Debbie Pomeroy Hyatt chatted nearby.
Other attendees from Yakima included Choua Vue and Abel Marichalar, Marty Miller and Steve Miller, and Tami Walters and Herb Derr.
At one of the more lively tables, Yakima icon Jeff Perkins chatted with Robert Kallenberger and Kaci Komstadius while Joan Spruill and Valory Thomas enjoyed the ambiance nearby.
Also attending were Beth and Roger Palmer, Dan and Midge Yergen, and Chad and Patricia Ritchie, as well as Eric and Anne Stoothoff.
The beautiful Nancy Leahy was seated at a table with Gene Rostvold while Diana Dewey, Taylor Dewey and Katie Dewey smiled while seated at a table nearby.
In town from Outlook was Shari Roskamp. Attendees from Prosser included Kristin Olsen, Rachelle Wiley, Jodi Hofstad and Kasey Blair.
Jan Nordstrom was deep in conversation with Jill Seifert at one of the tables while members of the Conley family gathered to receive honors for the Richland High School graduate who died in July 2017.
From Walla Walla, Dr. Gene Conley Sr. attended with Jayne Didario while Dr. Gene Conley Jr. stopped for a quick photo opportunity with the stunning Chelsey Appel.
In an evening punctuated by oftentimes emotional speeches from family members of those inducted into the Hall of Fame, a few volunteers from Selah High School waited in the wings.
Anna Swedin, Charis Williams and Piper Lukas are all cross country athletes entering their junior and senior years. With other athletic pursuits including track, basketball and golf — and reports that Anna even ran her first half-marathon the next day — maybe these girls will be the next ones to watch for as the Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame continues for many years to come.