On Saturday, February 25, Felt Billiards in Englewood, Colorado hosted the Ron Lyle Memorial 8-Ball Tournament to honor and remember the late heavy-weight boxing champion. Ron was a friend and regular at Felt and his spirit will continue to live on.
The local billiard community came together on this day to pay tribute to the local legend while raising money for a wonderful cause. An 8-ball tournament was held in Ron’s honor as that was his game of choice. The gentle giant would often frequent Felt as both a player and spectator. He would share boxing stories and insights from the mind of a world champion.
At Ron’s passing in November, his family requested contributions be made to the Cox-Lyle Red Shield Boxing Program in lieu of donations or flowers. Felt has since continued its fundraising efforts by creating a Ron Lyle Special with Ron’s favorite meal: bacon cheeseburger, fries, soft drink, and a scoop of ice cream. $4 from each order sold has been collected for the boxing program.
100% of all entry fees from the tournament also went toward the program and generous donations were made from businesses throughout the community to be awarded as tournament prizes. Four official sporting jerseys (valued at $200+ each) were anonymously donated. Congratulations to Nick Dittmar of Littleton for taking home $100 for the Mac Outlet store. Hands That Heal You in Englewood, graciously contributed four one-hour massage vouchers and Felt kicked in another $100 in bar tabs to various winners. Local billiards professional Marc Vidal donated his time taking challenge matches all day and individually raised nearly $200 from his efforts.
Due to the support and kindness throughout the community, Felt was able to raise over $500 for the program. Salvation Army Corps Commanding Officers Ron & Roberta McKinney also enjoyed the day, ordering a couple Ron Lyle Specials before receiving the donation dollars. “It was a pleasure to visit with you and the great people at Felt. I can see why it was one of Ron's favorite places,” said Captain Ron McKinney.
Photos memorialized Ron’s favorite seat in the house and on the big screen, highlight videos of his boxing matches played all day. As a special treat, Ron’s wife Jill stopped by to meet all the supporters and share the special day.
The Cox-Lyle boxing program collaborates with existing Salvation Army youth programs to help kids who are at risk of becoming involved in any number of negative activities that plague inner-city youth. Aside from improving the educational outlook, the boxing program aims at instilling six life skills: positive thinking, selflessness, integrity, courage, adaptation, and persistence.
“Ron was a friend of mine and when I asked him if he would like to leave Vegas, come home to Denver and really make a difference in the lives of the children of Denver, he did not hesitate to relocate from Nevada back to Denver,” added Captain McKinney. And that, he certainly did. The program started in 2002 with only six kids growing to today’s three-digit numbers.
If you wish to make a contribution or learn more about this great cause, visit coxlyleboxing.org.