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Awards show is ready to roll

State’s top athletes, performances to be honored for 56th year
by: , RASHAD

The biggest celebration of sports in the state of Oregon is returning to the Tiger Woods Center and live television and radio. It’s the 56th annual Oregon Sports Awards, a high-powered stage show that honors the best performers and performances in 2007. Emmy award-winning broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, the former University of Oregon great who recently was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, will host the show for the second consecutive year. Rashad and Portland Trail Blazer broadcaster-ambassador Bill Schonely will lead the cavalcade of celebrity award presenters from Oregon’s sports present and past. The event is set for Jan. 27 on the Nike campus in Beaverton. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the reception, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet will televise the Oregon Sports Awards from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with simulcast coverage on 1080 AM the Fan. The Fan also will provide preshow coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. Awards will go to the high school, small college, amateur and professional athletes of the year, as determined by a statewide panel. The year’s top coach or executive also will be announced during the show. The Nike-Steve Prefontaine Award will be presented to the outstanding high school senior distance runner. Other individuals or companies will be saluted for their contributions to local sports. And the Special Olympics athlete of the year will be named. The Oregon Sports Awards have been held in the Tiger Woods Center’s main theater every year since 2002, when they began as the successor to the Hayward Banquet of Champions. The Hayward event ran from 1948 to 1996. Two of the premier awards continue to be the Bill Hayward Amateur Athletes of the Year, male and female. Last year, Oregon State pitchers Jonah Nickerson and Brianne McGowan earned the Hayward trophies on what was a huge night for the Beavers. OSU baseball coach Pat Casey was selected as the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year, and Casey’s College World Series champions captured the George Pasero Team of the Year award. Tickets to this year’s ESPYs-like show are $50. They include hors d’oeuvres and beverages before the show and desserts and coffee afterward. To order, call 503-721-7477, ext. 17. A sellout crowd of about 750 is expected. The Oregon Sports Awards are sponsored by Nike, the Portland Tribune, Comcast SportsNet, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, the Portland Trail Blazers, Standard TV and Appliance, 1080 AM the Fan, Portland Vital Signs and SportsOne Inc. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.