Fundraising for Ripon Christian athletic complex nearly completion

jcortez@modbee.comJune 12, 2014 

Most people would be intimidated at having to raise a million-plus dollars.

Not Steve Beukelman, charmain of the fundraising committee for the Ripon Christian Athletic Complex.

To date, the committee has raised $950,000 of a projected $1.2 million project that will feature a new football facility and a ribbon of walkways that tie together the school’s other athletic venues. Tennis courts are also a possibility.

Groundbreaking on the project can’t begin until the rest of the funding has been secured, but given the fact the committee has raised nearly a million bucks in less than nine months, it’s a good bet the goal will be reached.

And Beukelman, a Ripon Christian graduate, knew it all along. He recounts a story about a project he undertook two years ago to turn the school’s old JV baseball diamond into a practice field for the Knights.

“Within two hours, everything we needed had been donated,” Beukelman said. “Sod, 160,000 yards of dirt, sprinkler system, heavy equipment, labor, everything. I started making calls at 11:15 a.m. and at 1:15 we had everything.

“Ripon Christian has always had constituents that are big supporters of the school, and whenever there’s a need, they step up.”

For years, RC has shared a stadium with next-door neighbor Ripon High. Beukelman pointed out that RHS has always been accommodating, but sharing Stouffer Field might not be so easy in the future. In fact, over the previous two football seasons, the Knights had to play six “home” games at other locales.

The new stadium, which should be ready for the 2015 football season, will sit where the current soccer pitch is located – parallel to southbound Highway 99, and perpendicular to Stouffer.

The new facility will be similar in concept to that of Stockton’s Lincoln High – no track surrounding the field, which puts fans about as close as they can get to the sidelines without putting on a helmet. The seating capacity is expected to be about 1,500, with plenty of room for expansion. In the northwest corner will be a concessions plaza – raised 4 feet above the playing surface – where fans can purchase their fare, and sit and eat while watching the action.

For information on becoming a donor, contact Beukelman at (209) 531-3653 or email at

Oakdale’s Scott Sherman, the chief financial officer at Pacific Southwest Container in Modesto, will take part in the Race Across America endurance cycling event beginning Saturday. Along with three teammates and a support crew of 10, the quartet of cyclists will leave Oceanside on a journey of more than 3,000 miles with more than 170,000 feet of climbing as they attempt to reach the finish line in Annapolis, Md. The route goes through 12 states and must be completed within nine days.

How does one gear up for such a trek?

“Well first of all we have three vehicles – two chase cars and a sprinter van,” Sherman said. “Then we have 10 crew members – crew chief, mechanics, driver, navigator, team doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist. So, that’s how you gear up, with a lot of support.”

Sherman and his teammates will take turns riding in two-man shifts – six hours and 500 miles per day (125 miles per rider). They expect to reach the finish line on June 20.

Sherman’s team is competing to raise money for the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world’s largest ALS-dedicated drug-development organization. The Pete Zucker Foundation – For Pete’s Sake – was formed in 2010 to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research. Zucker was a Northern California cyclist who was diagnosed with the disease in 2010 and died three years later. You can learn more about this event, or donate to the team, at For more information about the race, visit and if you care to follow the For Pete’s Sake team, you can do so on your mobile device via the Tractalis app.

Former Modesto High School student Vanessa Torres competed in the Summer X Games in Austin, Texas, last week and finished fourth in the women’s skateboard street competition. Torres was the first woman to win a skateboarding gold at the X Games in 2003.

Bee Hometown Report is an occasional feature on events and people in the local sports community. Have an idea or curious about an athlete who’s gone elsewhere? Email and please include “Hometown Report” in the subject line.

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