Pueblo Central Hall of Honor 2013 Inductee

Ray Pusedu (1953)

Ray began his career in sports as a high school football player and wrestler. As a member of these Central High School sports' teams, he was rewarded by playing in the first Bell Game between Central and Centennial in 1950 and two football conference titles. Individually, Ray was named All-Conference First Team as a sophomore, junior and senior for his ability to start on both lines. He was also named to High School Football's All-American Team in 1953. As for wrestling, Ray placed third in the state final wrestling match at 175 pounds in 1953. After high school Ray went on to the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, then finished off his sports career as a football player at the University of Denver.

After finishing his service in the military and college, Ray returned to Pueblo and began his family with his wife, Shirley and their five children. Dedication was one of the primary values instilled in his family—the sports arena became one of the benefactors of his value system. When his children were students at South High School and funding was tight, he and a group of parents formed the South High Booster Club, aka Colt Parent Pride. As President, Ray coordinated the initial group's fundraising campaign of spaghetti dinners, raffles and garage sales. In its first year the Club raised $22,000 which led them to purchase new baseball uniforms, free weights for the football team, and a new balance beam for the gymnasts. Over his 3-years of leading the Club, he helped raise well over $60,000 for the students and athletes of South High School.

In 1981, Ray and his close friends started the Italian Invitational Golf Tournament. This golf extravaganza continues to soar today with 400 golfers from 13 different states playing 2 days of golf on the two city golf courses. Over the 24 years, the tournament has raised nearly $100,000 in proceeds which benefits the Colorado State University Foundation by awarding scholarships to students for golf and academics. At 79 years old, Ray Pusedu continues to preside over the committee of the Italian Invitational Golf Tournament held annually in Pueblo since 1981. Of the 400 golfers, 40% travel from outside Pueblo to experience this golf weekend that assists college-bound students enrolling at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

For his leadership and true ability to 'get things done' for the athletes of Pueblo, Ray was nominated, by Jim Blanc, John Rivas and Sollie Raso, into the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame in 1991. He was quoted after his nomination, "I never thought Runyon Field would ever look like this today". As Dave Socier phrased, 'he said it with awe, wonder and a whole lot of pride.'

The additional fields and the excellent condition of the facility allowed Runyon Field to qualify as an eligible candidate for many major baseball tournaments in all age groups. With this confidence and Ray's ambition, the Board of Directors campaigned for the Bambino World Series. In the summer of 1991, after only their second attempt, Runyon Field was awarded the hosting honor. Ten divisional league championship teams, along with their families, migrated to Pueblo, Colorado. The success of the Bambino World Series along with the increased size of the facility has put Runyon Field on the map. Ray's devotion to Runyon Field was only the beginning. The potential has now drawn other volunteers to continue to expand and improve the facility which has now earned the honor of being called a "sports complex".

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