WEIRTON - Area residents can look back at the history of local athletics and see some of the influence of sports across the country as part of a traveling exhibit now on display in Weirton.
"Hometown Teams - How Sports Shape America," a traveling exhibit made possible by the Smithsonian Institution and the West Virginia Humanities Council, officially opened to the public Sunday at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center.
The touring exhibit, which will be housed at the Weirton museum through Sept. 27, includes interactive and informational displays on a variety of sports - from baseball, basketball and football to wakeboarding, Ironman competitions and even fantasy sports leagues - as well as their inclusion in popular culture, with items such as cereal boxes, video games, magazines, trading cards and advertisements.
Local organizers wanted to provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the Weirton area's sports history while looking through the national materials.
"We tried to emulate them with some of our own local exhibits," Weirton Museum President Dennis Jones said.
Among some of the local items are the Kennedy Award trophy earned by Bob Kelley in 1960, photos of several area championship teams from Weir, Madonna and Brooke high schools, information on teams from the former New Cumberland and Follansbee high schools, displays on the Weir High band from the 1960s - including their trips to Holland and the Rose Bowl Parade - as well as notable area athletes such as Ron "Fritz" Williams, Wally Ingram, Joanna Barnabei and Quincy Wilson.
EXHIBIT OPENS — The “Hometown Teams” traveling exhibit, made possible by the Smithsonian Institution and West Virginia Humanities Council, officially opened at the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center on Sunday. The exhibit, including displays on local and national sports, will be on display until Sept. 27. -- Craig Howell
"We dedicated a whole wall to Quincy, from the Little Steelers all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals," Jones aid.
Sunday's opening day program included a recitation of the Ernest Thayer poem "Casey at the Bat" by Taylor Pannett, with assistance from Weirton Mayor George Kondik and the singing of the national anthem by Victoria Gerst.
In addition to the exhibit itself, the local planning committee has organized several presentations in the coming weeks, including:
6 p.m. Aug. 21 "The Bridge from Segregated Sports to Desegregated Sports in Weirton" with Mel Coleman and Bob Kelley, at the Weirton museum.
8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Aug. 23, a live broadcast on WEIR Sports Radio 1430 with local sports dignitaries at the museum
10:30 a.m. Aug. 23 the unveiling of the Weirton Professional Athletes Sign at the corner of Cove Road and Weir Avenue
2 p.m. Aug. 23, "A History of Sports at Weir High, Madonna and Dunbar Schools," presented by Bob Barnett, Doug Huff, Bill Barrett, Bill Zenieski and Bob Kelley at the Weirton museum
6 p.m. Aug. 26, "Weir High Football, Past and Present" presented by Weir football coach Anthony Filberto at the Weirton museum
6 p.m. Sept. 2, "Title IX, A Victory for Girls in Sports" by Roberta DeFrancis at the Weirton museum
6 p.m. Sept. 9 "Weirton Steel and Its Sports Heritage" by David T. Javersak at the Weirton museum
6 p.m. Sept. 18, "1960-62 Weir High Band Special Reception," with Dale Lutton and band members at the Weirton museum
6 p.m. Sept. 23, "Brooke High Football, from the Beginning to the End of an Era," with former Brooke coach Paul "Bud" Billiard at the Weirton museum.