Neepawa’s leisure services department has started its search for the 2012 Sportsman of the Year. The annual award aims to acknowledge people who have made great commitments to the sporting and recreational community in Neepawa through their time and volunteer efforts, and leisure services manager Amanda Cathcart knows there are lots of worthy people eligible in this community. The person chosen for the distinction will receive the award at this year’s Sports Dinner to be held at the Yellowhead Centre Friday, Nov. 1. “I can tell you that the Sports Dinner is the perfect stage for those individuals to receive their recognition,” Cathcart explained. “They are among those who see value in what they are doing, and I’d like to encourage those who know anyone that puts time and effort into recreation as a volunteer to nominate that individual.” In the past, Sportsman of the Year winners include Kerri Hayhurst, Heather Todoruk, and Gail and Garth White. Nominations can be made by contacting Cathcart by fax at 476-7624 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, the Sports Dinner organizer has lined up a great speaker and humorous entertainer for the event. Boxing legend and hall of famer George Chuvalo will be the featured speaker. As an athlete Chuvalo was known for his toughness, as he was remarkably never knocked off his feet in 93 professional fights between 1956 and 1979. He is a former Canadian Heavyweight Champion and has received numerous accolades including a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. His most notable fights include those against world champions Joe Frazier and George Foreman, as well as two fights against Muhammad Ali where Chuvalo went the distance each time. “My favourite Chuvalo story is the night he went 15 rounds with Ali at Maple Leaf Gardens,” Cathcart pointed out. “Ali won by unanimous decision but spent that night in hospital. Chuvalo, meanwhile, went dancing with his wife.” As a speaker, George talks about drugs and how they’ve impacted his life. He’s lost three sons and a wife as a result of substance abuse, and he resultantly conveys a powerful message. “His presentations are in demand coast-to-coast,” Cathcart said. “Being a father to drug addicted sons provides him with the insight and wisdom to capture any listener.” The night’s second featured speaker, professional golfer/comedian/magician David Merry, will bring a much different approach to the stage. “He will wrap up the night with his humor and entertaining magic tricks,” Cathcart said. “David is a pro golfer and his comedy act will tie in nicely with our co-hosts the Neepawa Golf and Country Club. He is hilarious...he has opened for Jerry Seinfeld three times.” As per the past few years, funds raised will be split between the co-host for its organization and the leisure services department towards The Flats’ Four Season/Washroom-Changeroom which is already in the early stages of construction. Tickets to the night are $75 apiece and are available by calling Amanda at 476-7614 or 212-0047, and Landon Cameron at 476-5711 or 841-3570.