Corporate Cup business tradition for 26 years
By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Sept. 17, 2012 at 4:17 a.m.
The YMCA Corporate Cup doesn't have quite the pedigree of the Olympic games, but the competition has had Crossroads residents vying for the honor of winning the cup for the past 26 years.
The Corporate Cup is an annual competition held by the YMCA. Area businesses put together teams to compete in tug-of-war competitions, softball games, relay races and various other activities.
"All of these people come together and they network with these different companies and get to know each other, and it makes Victoria stronger, it makes Victoria one," said Rosalinda Ramirez, the YMCA wellness director.
The competition has seen some changes over the years, Ramirez said. When the competition started in the 1980s, Victoria was a bustling place with a booming economy and a generation of baby boomers eager to prove themselves in athletic contests, Ramirez said. Back then, they had more than 40 teams striving to win the competition and be the ones to take home the trophy that they would get to keep for a year.
The Corporate Cup was a place where business people met outside the office. People met their spouses there while taking turns sprinting through Riverside Park in relay races. Companies made deals and decided to collaborate while playing horse shoes or kickball.
"We get to know each other and get to know each other's families. That causes you to build relationships and building relationships causes you to care about each other, about what happens to each other, and that's good for the whole company," said Rachelle Escalante, administrative assistant at LyondellBasell.
Brian Reed, a principal engineer at LyondellBasell, said members of the company have been competing in the Corporate Cup since the early 1980s. Even as their company has changed hands over the years, Reed said they have had teams signed up most years. There were a number of years in the 1990s and in the 2000s that the company didn't compete because there weren't enough people interested in organizing the team, but there has been a resurgence of interest, he said.
"I know a lot of our people enjoy it," he said "They enjoy the competition, and it's fun and our kids get to go out there and watch us and for us all to be together."
Ramirez has overseen the competition for the past nine years. While there had been a decrease in the number of businesses competing, she said she is hopeful there will be a resurgence of interest in the cup, noting that Caterpillar officials have already expressed interest about joining the competition next year.
She is hopeful the competition will begin to thrive again, because the proceeds are a benefit to the entire community, she said.
The companies pay a fee to register their teams, and the proceeds from the cup benefit Friends of Youth, a scholarship program that pays for children to attend the YMCA after-school program for free.
"Because of the scholarship money they're in a program where they're helped with their homework, working with other kids and learning great values instead of sitting at home by themselves or who knows where," Ramirez said. "I would hate to see Corporate Cup go away, because there have been so many great things that have come from it."