About The Foundation
The Rob DeGrand Memorial Foundation was established in the early 1990s and has raised and contributed more than $285,000 to needy causes in Northeast Wisconsin. What started out as a softball tournament amongst friends in 1991, has grown to include the Gary Thiry Memorial Walk, the Amy Vanpay Volleyball Tournament, the Todd Davister Milkbottle and the Mike Conard Cup. Held in Sugarbush every August, the tournament continues to grow.
History Of The Tournament
In August of 1992, 19-year old Rob DeGrand, son of Larry DeGrand and Pat Donovan, and some friends held a softball tournament at the Sugarbush Little League baseball diamond. On August 8, 1992 Rob was killed in a car accident. Months later Rob's friends asked if they could hold a softball tournament in hopes to raise money for a scholarship in Rob's memory. On August 8, 1993, four teams played and raised over $6,000.
The Tournament Today
Today the softball tournament is a four-day event with 16 competing teams. The winning team takes home the Micheal Conard Softball Cup - named after Rob's 12-year old cousin who died during an accident at his home in 1988 - as well as prize money.
This annual event has turned into almost a festival, featuring the Gary Thiry Memorial Walk, the Amy Vanpay Volleyball Tournament and the Todd Davister Milkbottle event. Vanpay, who died of cancer in 1998, was another of Rob's cousins. Davister, who was killed in a construction accident at the age of 25 was a family friend.
Thiry was Rob's best friend and the last person to see him alive the night he died. He was one of the biggest supporters of the tournament and the Foundation until his own death due to heart problems at age 33.
Food, entertainment, games and activities for all ages are offered over the course of the weekend, all to benefit a good cause.