BY NICK ROBINSON
PUEBLO — During his second year at the helm of the Spradley Collegians, Tony Pechek was seeking for a way to showcase his squad to the public.
Pechek and his close friends quickly came up with an idea that would stick in the community for six years running.
“We didn’t have too many fans coming to games at that point.” Pechek said. “We had a random idea – if we can rally to get beer, we can get the proceeds to go to the team. It all happened within three days.”
And it has been a hit within the community ever since.
“It’s a good night for publicity to get people to come to the ballpark,” Pechek said. “We also coincide it with a huge high school tournament here in Pueblo. They do a hot dog fry, and I do the beer, and we usually have 400-500 people here for the game.”
How do the Collegians get enough money to serve dollar beers at Runyon Park all evening?
“I have buddies that own businesses and we knock on doors,” Pechek said. “We like to do it for Spradley, too – for them to come down, because they are a big reason financially how we are able to play. It’s a tribute to them, as well.”
Luke Perse, a longtime friend of Pechek, has been pouring beer during the event for four years.
“Tony is one of my best friends,” he said. “It’s about helping a buddy out. Cold beer, baseball, those two just go together. It’s cool to see his team play.
It always seems like the night starts slow. But as the people come from the other fields. Then, the event turns pretty huge, and I’m pouring beer nonstop.”
After the games are finished, Pechek and company celebrate the way they know how – batting practice and ice cold beer.
“After the games are done, the coaches and a select few people that contribute, stay at the field and have a little night batting practice,” Pechek said. “We usually just end up drinking whatever the remaining beer that’s left.
The sound of only the wood bat and your closest buddies. It just makes me feel like a kid again.”
Perse recalled the first year he helped out and can vividly remember the amount of keg-tapping he had to do.
“The year my wife and Tony’s wife were pumping beer with a regular tap, and we went through five kegs,” he added. “We thought no one would come. By the end of it, we tapped all five with a hand tap. That’s something not too many people can say.”
Pechek feels when his time has passed as coach of the Collegians, the event will still go on.
“As long as there is a collegiate team in Pueblo, there will be a dollar beer night,” he said. “Whether I am involved, or not. This has been such a success and I wish we could do it for every home game.”
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