BY Chris Abdelmalek | The Pueblo Chieftain | OCT. 30, 2022
A new class of athletes who've left a significant mark on the Pueblo sports scene will soon join some of the area's most legendary competitors in the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame.
The GPSA's 50th anniversary induction banquet will take place Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Occhiato Ballroom on the Colorado State University Pueblo campus. The organization's 2022 hall of fame inductees are Bobby Bonner, Richard “Dick” Hime, Cliff Laughlin, Mike “Veech” Marcovecchio, Marie Mass, Mike Salardino, and LeRoy Snook.
The annual banquet will also include a presentation outlining some of the greatest moments in Pueblo sports history. This year's selected moments are Jerry Kersey being named the Steinmark Award winner in 1980, Mike Zaremba winning the Colorado Open in 1995, and the Pueblo County wrestling team winning back-to-back state wrestling titles in 2016 and 2017 under head coach Eddie Soto.
Here are this year's inductees and the athletic endeavors they're known for:
Bonner is currently an assistant softball coach at Pueblo East High School. His list of personal achievements includes being inducted into the ASA Colorado Softball Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Pueblo Softball Hall of Fame in 2010. Bonner has been selected for all-state, all-tourney or MVP honors in 20 different tournaments, both in and outside of Colorado, including when he was named MVP of the Rocky Mountain Travel League in 1976.
Richard “Dick” Hime
Hime was involved with Pueblo sports his entire life. After playing both baseball and basketball, first for Pueblo Centennial and later Pueblo Junior College, Himewent on to play at Western State College of Colorado before returning home in 1963 to begin his coaching/teaching career at Freed Middle School. His career achievements include making the all-tournament team at the Buena Vista Invitational in 1959 while playing at Western State and helping Centennial basketball win a league title against Pueblo Central in 1951.
Laughlin has been around wrestling his entire life and is very much entrenched in wrestling history in Pueblo and across the country. Some of his accomplishments over the years include playing multiple sports for East, including wrestling and football. Laughlin went on to coach high school wrestling in Idaho, where he had a successful career that included training and coaching many Olympians. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame's Idaho chapter in 2003. In 2008, for the first time in Idaho's history, one of his wrestling teams won both the academic and wrestling state championships. He also coached the USA Wrestling team in Beijing in 2001.
Mike “Veech” Marcovecchio
Marcovecchio graduated from Roncalli High School after a successful career playing football, basketball and baseball. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and played two years of professional baseball before coming to Pueblo and beginning his coaching career. He coached football at Pueblo County High School for fifteen years, then officiated basketball, baseball and softball at all levels for 20 years. He also was a longtime fixture on the board for Runyon Sports Complex. He still works with the Colorado High School Activities Association as a rule interpreter.
Mass, who passed away in 1995, was involved in the rodeo industry beginning at age 12. She was the 1958 Little Britches Rodeo Queen and the Girl of the West in the Pikes Peak Rodeo. In 1961, she was named Miss Rodeo America as well as the Queen of the Stockmen’s Ball at the Denver Western Show. In 1964, she was named the allaround champion cowgirl at Colorado State University. She is known as a role model in the rodeo industry.
Salardino graduated from Southern Colorado State College in 1973 and got involved with Pueblo sports, first as a local disc jockey and sportscaster. He served on Pueblo City Council from 1979-1990 and is currently the president of Rotary 43. He's also served on the boards of several organizations including the Old Timers Baseball Association, Pueblo Advocacy Center, Pueblo Rape Crisis Center, Parkview Foundation, Colorado State Fair, and the Grand Lodge of Colorado. He has been the master of ceremonies for the CSU Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame for the past 11 years.
Snook was a three-sport star at Pueblo East High School who set school track records that lasted many years. He was also the first East athlete to qualify for state in track. After high school, he served as a high school basketball official for almost twenty years and also officiated college basketball for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference during playoff games. He is a member of the Colorado Football Officials Association — he officiated football games from 1971-1998 — and is recognized for his excellent work officiating championship games from eightman to class 5A. He was inducted into the Colorado Officials hall of fame for basketball in 1990 and for football in 2002.
Tickets to this year's GPSA banquet are available for purchase at Roger’s Enterprise Inc., 405 W 8th St. For more information about the event, visit pueblogshof. com. The GPSA was established in 1972 to preserve and promote Pueblo’s rich sports history. Each year, the organization selects outstanding individuals for induction into its hall of fame. Additionally, the GPSA presents the Brian Macartney Awards, given annually to the top male and female high school athletes in the area, and recognizes the top male and female scholar-athletes at CSU Pueblo with the James “Spank” Blasing and Jesse Banks awards.