CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — This Friday, Antero Resources will host its fourth annual Dodgeball Tournament at Hite Field in Clarksburg, raising money for the area’s youth.

The annual event got started in 2015 when Antero created fundraising committees in order to give back to local communities.

“We started, I think the first year we only had 20 or so teams,” said Shawn Bennett, a construction manager of Antero who co-chairs the event. “The second year went up a little bit, and last year we had 80 teams.”

In year one, Antero raised $50,000, $75,000 in the second year, and last year a record $115,000.

This year they’re aiming to surpass $150,000, Bennett said.

“One thing that’s different this year is that the event is going to be much larger,” he said. “Last year we had 80 teams, this year we have 126 teams. We’re going from four fields to six fields, so that’s roughly 600 people that will be there just to play dodgeball.”

While the inaugural event solely benefited Patrons of the Park, the rising amount of funds has helped Antero to support even more community organizations.

“Over the years, we branched out and we’ve donated to a couple different children’s homes,” Bennett said. “Last year it was the Patrons and Genesis Center that were the beneficiaries, and this year we’ve actually added Project Firewood, which is not primarily a youth organization, but it does benefit a lot of the youth in the area through their families.”

Project Firewood was coordinated by Chris Wilt, owner of Black Star Trading Company, LLC, along with Antero employees as a way to make use of the unmarketable timber that is left on site.

“They started going around picking up the unused timber. Chris and his guys cut it up for firewood, and they take it around to families in need in the area,” Bennett said. “It’s a great program. To be able to benefit something like that, and the Patrons, which benefits several youth organizations.”

Additionally, the sneaker program that runs in conjunction with the Dodgeball Tournament has purchased over 1,000 pairs of shoes for the area’s youth.

“We were looking for something, someway to give back to the youth in the area. We know that there’s a lot of underpriviledge youth in our area, and that’s something that Michelle, myself, a lot of individuals and Antero itself is very passionate about, so we took this as an opportunity,” Bennett said.

Bennett said each year he’s been impressed to see how involved Antero’s area contractors are in the event.

“We have a lot of local guys that do what they need to do, and they go above and beyond,” he said. “But it’s not just local people that are giving to this. We have contractors from Texas, from Oklahoma, from Ohio, from Pennsylvania, from all over that come to this event. They work in this area and they make money in this area, and they want to make sure that they give back.”

While Bennett admits he’s bowed out of playing due to coordinating the event, he said it’s just as thrilling to be a spectator.

“I think that not only are you able to support a few good causes in the area, any time you get to see adults throw balls at either other and get a little riled up, it’s a good time,” he said.

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