Story and images provided by Visit Stillwater
Fourteen sports clinics will converge on the Stillwater community July 29-August 3. Shelly Weaver, founder and president of Epic Performance Athletes, grew her vision of a free barrel racing clinic into the largest rodeo clinic in the world that now includes all 8 rodeo events and draws over five thousand participants annually.
Shelly and her Epic team of professionals are now expanding from hosting the largest rodeo clinic in the world, to incorporate mainstream sport clinics including Football, Girls and Boys Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Girls and Boys Soccer, and Wrestling. Clinics will be taught by coaches, professional athletes, licensed counselors, fitness experts, nutritionists, and life coaches.
“My husband, Steve, and I have 6 children and 5 grandchildren who were, and still are, involved in sports and activities. We are now in the position to enable us to pay it forward and give children who have a passion for sports the ability to pursue their dreams,” said Weaver. “I believe we can make a difference in the lives of youth and within the community.”
Epic was created to allow children the opportunity to grow their passion for sports with the help of professional athletes and coaches. Focus is placed on the individual’s athletic talents including mental stamina, physical endurance, and personal growth. EPIC has partnered with Oklahoma State University, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Visit Stillwater to advance the overall focus of the organization.
Clinics will be broken down into fundamentals and classroom time on the campus of Oklahoma State University to allow student athletes, grades 9-12 (rodeo and wrestling are grades 7-12) the opportunity to grow their passion for sports with the help of professional athletes and coaches. Each athlete may choose one sport from each session, which allows them to attend two different sports camps during the week.
Check in begins at 8 a.m. and camp will promptly start at 8:30 a.m. each morning and will end at 5:30 p.m. each day. Lunch will be provided for each athlete. Out of town participants are encouraged to contact the host hotel, Home2 Suites by Hilton, at 405-372-2550. Identify yourself as an Epic Performance Athlete participant to receive the $89/night discounted rate. Two weeks prior to the clinic, a welcome email will be sent outlining where to check in and all details pertaining to each sport.
Participants will have the opportunity to experience an entire week of Epic clinics for free after a $36 registration fee. “Fee waiver sponsorships are available. No questions asked. Simply call me at 918-671-2835. No child will be turned down,” explained Weaver. “In addition, at each main and mini clinic there will be a canned food drive for local food banks and homeless shelters that will provide the opportunity to give back to the community in an even broader way.”
Former Oklahoma State University athletes, such as Corey Hilliard, Matt Oakes, and Marlon Houston, will coach various sports. Coaching staffs continue to increase as athletes learn about the week-long event and hear from their former teammates and friends who also want to be involved in providing a positive experience for youth athletes.
Corey Hilliard is a former American football superstar offensive tackle who played seven years in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oklahoma State University, before being drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Hilliard has also been a member of the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets.
Among those assisting Hilliard with the football clinic are Josh Fields, Charlie Johnson, Billy Bajema, Victor Degrate, Derrick Alexander, and Tracey Moore.
Matt Oakes completed his collegiate career at Oklahoma State University in 2002. He went undrafted in the 2002 MLB draft and was signed by the Winnipeg Goldeyes, an affiliate of the Northern Independent Baseball League. Two weeks into being a part of the Goldeyes, he learned the Detroit Tigers had picked him up and he was going to Florida to join the Rookie Club. Matt played in (AA) Erie, (A) Grand Rapids, two seasons with the Mid-Missouri Maverick Independent Team, and rounded out his career with an invite to spring training with the New York Yankees.
Assisting Oakes are Josh Walker, Jared Cudd, James Boone, Jay Edelen, David Rollandini, Rusty Puffinbarger, Jace Brewer, and Josh Fields.
Coach Marlon Houston has been involved in the sport of wrestling for thirty-five years and coaching for twenty-two. Coach Houston was a three-time HWT Oklahoma State Champion and a High School All American for Pawnee High School. He wrestled in college for Morgan State University where he was a two-time NCAA Qualifier. When Morgan State dropped their wrestling program, Houston completed his collegiate wrestling career at Oklahoma State University. Coach Houston is currently the Head Wrestling and Head Football coach at Tulsa Will Rogers College High School.
The Oklahoma State University Cowboy Wrestling staff, including head coach John Smith, will be coaching Olympic Gold and NCAA Championship level techniques.
If you are interested in volunteering or providing resources to make these dreams realities, EPIC representatives would love to work with you. To register or for more information, go to www.epicathletes.org.