BEATRICE – If you live in Beatrice or the surrounding area, chances are you have seen a Beatrice Bullets uniform around town.
Originating in 2004, Joe Blackburn noticed a good program coached by John Fossler, called the “Beatrice Bullets.” He liked it so much that he stepped down from his then current coaching position to create the Beatrice Bullets organization.
“I liked what John Fossler did with his group calling them the Beatrice Bullets, so in 2004, the Bullets was started. The only difference was John wore blue and gold, and we changed it to orange and black.”
Since the founding of the program, the Bullets have grown tremendously.
Today, there are 10 teams with about 120 kids, ranging in age from 8-14.
“My goal was to have one team per age group, didn’t know there’d be two in some. My goal was to be this big. I’d like it to be bigger, but unfortunately with a town the size of Beatrice, we’re about tapped out on kids. We get about 12 to come out every year for 8’s and that’s the perfect number,” said Blackburn.
This is a great opportunity for local kids to get to play competitive baseball at a young age, but it is also a great opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on extra visitors in town during the weekend.
In two weeks, Beatrice will be hosting a state tournament that will bring in around 70 teams.
“We’re hosting the 9 and 10s division. There could be a gold and silver, so kind of four divisions of state. The state usually tells us to plan on 1,200 to 1,500 extra people in town per division, so there could be about 3,000 extra people in town.”
Another unique thing the Bullets do is help with the Bullets’ Shooting Stars. The Shooting Stars provide boys and girls with a wide range of disabilities the opportunity to experience the fun of playing organized baseball.
Their first game is Tuesday night at West Scott Field.
So where do the Bullets go from here? Well, Blackburn has some pretty large goals with the program.
“Right now, we’re kind of in a transitional stage with the new high school coach we just hired. I’d like to see the Bullets be a feeder program, kind of like Jim Weeks did with the hoops, where high school coaches are involved. We learn at a very young age what they should learn in high school, so when they get to high school, fundamentals and all that stuff is out of the way. We can put Beatrice baseball back on the map like it was back in the late 90s, early 2000s,” declared Blackburn.
If you have a child interested in playing Bullets baseball next summer, tryouts will be held on July 19th and 20th. Odd number age groups will be held on the 19th, with even ages on the 20th. They will both be held on the West Scott Fields at 6 p.m.