Scripps Ranch Old Pros President John Grant and Steve Northcote oversee the clubs recent horse shoe tournament. (photo by John Gregory)
SR Old Pros mix sports, philanthropy
The Scripps Ranch Old Pros are preparing for the sports club’s busiest time of year with the Fourth of July just days away. That’s because the Old Pros run a series of running and cycling events involving thousands of participants, all on the morning of the Fourth of July. In fact, two of the major events, the 10k race and the 50 Mile Bike Ride, start at the same time within blocks of one another.
Known as the Fourth of July Run & Ride, this series of events is put on by the Old Pros so efficiently that those who prefer to sleep in on the morning of July 4th will never know that any such events took place when they drive down the streets at noon. But make no mistake, pulling it off is a massive undertaking, although the Old Pros make little commotion about their efforts. The members would rather be known for their freewheeling reputation.
“Our purpose is irreverent fun; however, we probably put on the biggest Fourth of July event in San Diego County,” said Old Pros President John Grant.
Besides the 10k Run and the 50-Mile Bike Ride, the Fourth of July Run & Ride includes a 2-Mile Fun Run, a 12-Mile Bike Ride and a 28-Mile Bike Ride.
“We get about 3,000 participants. We get about 25 different business sponsors and we raise approximately $60,00 to $80,000,” Grant said. “That goes to community scholarships for graduating seniors from Scripps Ranch High.”
While Grant jokes about the Old Pros when asked about the club’s objective, the group’s contributions to the community eventually surface.
“We have to have a purpose, and it’s philanthropy,” he explained.
“We fund every athletic team that asks us for money in Scripps Ranch. So, if you have a Pee-Wee League, a girls’ team of 6-year-olds, we’ll write you a check,” he said. “We write (a check) for all the high school teams, of course. Pretty much anyone. You name it, if they ask us for money, they get a check.”
The Scripps Ranch Old Pros are a registered 501(c)(7) organization, which is considered a social membership club. The rules for joining are pretty loose, but a member must reside in Scripps Ranch, within the 92131 ZIP Code area.
The club was started around 1980 when a few local men began scheming about ways to reserve playing fields from the City of San Diego. One club member said four guys in a hot tub started the organization. “I heard it was eight guys, which seems to be pretty tight,” said another.
“The reason they formed a club is they needed to reserve a softball field in the City of San Diego and they had to be a nonprofit (community-based) organization,” Grant said. “So, that’s the reason they started the club; brainstorming in a hot tub.”
Today, the Old Pros have an abundance of sports leagues playing games on numerous fields throughout the year. There are several softball leagues and some soccer leagues.
“We like to call ourselves a drinking club with a softball problem,” Grant said.
“The soccer league guys, they’re the minority,” Grant added. “Softball’s much bigger, but they (soccer) say they’re the best soccer leagues in the entire county because if they get people who are (jerks), they just kick them out, because it’s a private league; whereas most city leagues, you know, if you’re in, you’re in.”
Beyond the year-long sports activities, the Old Pros hold monthly meetings at Kaminski’s BBQ & Sports Lounge in Poway. It’s here where they conduct business and welcome a prominent featured speaker each month. Grant said the club has hosted some of the biggest sports names in San Diego, including Bruce Bochy, Phil Nevin, Rocky Long, Steve Fisher, Randy Jones, Tony Gwynn and a healthy assortment of sports announcers.
In addition, the club organizes an abundance of other events including trips and celebrations. There is a Super Bowl ski trip to South Lake Tahoe on the first week of February. They take a trip to Phoenix to watch the Padres during Spring Training. They have a campout during Easter week, and a Campout at Convict Lake, just south of Mammoth, in September. There is a surf trip and a trip to Laredo Resort. The club also holds several golf events. They close out the year with a “very fancy” holiday party at a downtown hotel in December.
The biggest events taking the most amount of organization and coordination remain the Fourth of July Run & Ride events. Although they are held on the 4th, there is a lot of pre-event preparation and a staffing need for members to hand out race bibs on the 3rd.
“So, the nice thing about the club is you don’t have to do anything,” Grant explained. “However, if you’re going to be a member, and a real member, July 3 and 4 is when you need to participate.”
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