The Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame is up and running and is about to honor its first class of nine inductees, including the people's choice award winner.

A panel of sports experts chose winners from among a deserving group of 60 nominations.

The first class of first-class athletes includes:

  • Jockey Russell Baze
  • Track star Kelly (Blair) LaBounty
  • Baseball coach Chuck "Bo Bo" Brayton
  • Pro baseball and basketball player Gene Conely
  • Alpine skier Phil Mahre
  • Basketball coach Dean Nicholson
  • Boxer Pete Rademacher
  • Pro baseball player and coach Mel Stottlemeyer Jr.
  • And people's choice winner motocross rider Jim Pomeroy

The induction ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. June 9 at the Yakima Convention Center with a portion of the proceeds going back into the sports community through Sozo Sports of Central Washington. Tickets are still available for $25 at Brown Paper Tickets.

 Here's just one impressive example of the level of accomplishment by these athletes -- from the Hall of Fame website:

       "Granger native Russell Baze, the most famous member of the prolific horse racing family, retired in the summer of 2016 with the most career victories in North American thoroughbred racing history.  He rode in more than 53,000 races and had 12,842 first-place finishes, 9,600 seconds, 7,855 thirds and $199.3 million in purse earnings in a career that spanned more than 40 years."