Usually they race for the end zone, but Wednesday some of the Dallas Cowboys’ top players swung for the fences at the Reliant Home Run Derby in Frisco. And whether they got dingers or popups, it was all for a good cause.
Thousands of fans packed into Riders Field in Frisco to root for the Cowboys as they took their turns at the plate. Through the charity competition, Reliant donated $113,000 to 23 nonprofit organizations.
Vander Esch masters the long ball for second straight year
At the event, fans saw the ‘Pokes swing lumber to raise a total of $86,500 for The Salvation Army. For the second straight year, Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was named the 2023 Reliant Home Run Derby champion—outslugging fellow players Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, Zack Martin, Trevon Diggs, Osa Odighizuwa, and Jake Ferguson. But some of the greatest fan interest may have been seeing two brand-new Cowboys acquired in pre-NFL draft trades: Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore.
“For 10 years, the Dallas Cowboys and Reliant have come together to raise money for a good cause, while having fun and entertaining Cowboys fans at the same time,” Charlotte Jones, Cowboys EVP and chief brand officer, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to our fans, players, and Reliant for making this amazing event bigger and better year after year.”
Nearly 50 local students involved with The Salvation Army attended, Reliant said—and a student from the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Youth Education Town earned the honor of throwing out the first pitch to a Cowboys player.
“The Reliant Home Run Derby brings Cowboys Nation together, combining charity and community to create a unique event that’s fun for the whole family,” Reliant VP Andrea Russell said in the statement. “While most people know Reliant as an electricity provider, we also care deeply about our community and are committed to making a positive impact. Now in our tenth year, we are honored to once again team up with the Dallas Cowboys to support outstanding North Texas nonprofits.”
Three mascots unite
Rowdy, the Cowboys’ mascot, and Shieldy, The Salvation Army’s mascot, joined Reliant’s mascot, Hugo, to inject the event with a jolt of high-energy mascotization.
The national anthem was performed by The Salvation Army Band. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Chowboyz, and Rhythm & Blues also took part to cap off the experience.
Local media stepped up to the plate, too
The Cowboys weren’t alone in gaining transitory baseball glory (or momentary embarrassment). Reliant also invited local media to try their hand at bat in the annual Reliant Home Run Derby Media League, which raised $17,100 for nonprofits of their choice. The lineup and their charities included:
- Bri Amaranthus, Sports Illustrated supporting Tango Charities Feed the City
- Pat Doney, KXAS (NBC) supporting Team Hoyt Texas
- Tom Gribble, KSCS New Country 96.3 supporting American Diabetes Association
- Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram supporting See It Through Charities
- Mark “Hawkeye” Louis, KSCS New Country 96.3 supporting Cook Children’s Hospital
- Erik Mora, KXTX (Telemundo) supporting Isla Urbana
- Shannon Murray, KDFW (FOX) supporting Girls on the Run DFW
- Brittany Rainey, KTVT (CBS) supporting Saving Hope Animal Rescue
- Kyle Roberts, WFAA (ABC) supporting ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship
- Rick Rogers, Star Local Media supporting Refresh Frisco
- Patrik Walker, DallasCowboys.com supporting American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Steve Noviello of KDFW (FOX) supported the Grant Halliburton Foundation and served as emcee of the Media League event.
Reliant supports local communities through volunteerism, charitable giving, and collaboration with a variety of organizations. The company said that in 2022 alone, it donated $4 million to causes across Texas, with employees giving more than 4,000 volunteer hours to over 200 community programs.
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