News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 19, 2011

Hughes, News and Views: McVicker still winning martial arts titles

David Hughes
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Now that we don't have to worry about the Indianapolis Colts for a while, this seems like a good time to provide publicity to a few deserving Wabash Valley athletes and events that occasionally slip through the cracks:

• The Tribune-Star has written about Terre Haute martial artist Jack McVicker several times over the years. And as long as he keeps winning major titles, we will continue to write about him.

McVicker, 38, is coming off a successful performance in the World No-Gi Championships for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Los Angeles a couple months ago. He won his weight class and the absolute (open) division for men¹s black belts in his age group (35-40).

Later this month, Jan. 27-30 to be exact, McVicker will be in Lisbon, Portugal, to compete in those same divisions in the European Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

McVicker admitted that he needs to drop a little weight to reach the 161-pound limit, but he promised he will do it.

"I'm excited," he emphasized. "I haven't been to Portugal for about two years. There will be guys from Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Germany, England and Italy competing, plus maybe 20-30 from the United States."

An intense competitor, McVicker isn¹t ready to think about when he might retire from the sport.

"As long as I still feel good," he replied. "My body's still in good shape."

• Pro boxer James Porter often spends his time training amateurs in Terre Haute's Sweatbox Gym.

But this Saturday and Sunday, he's helping organize the Regional Silver Gloves Championships at Ryves Youth Center, 1356 Locust St. Boxers from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kentucky will battle for weight-class titles in age groups ranging from 10 to 16.

"Some of these kids are future Olympians," Porter told me Thursday. "We take a lot of pride in these other states trusting us to host this tournament."

About 30-35 matches will take place each day. Winners in each division will earn the opportunity to advance to the national tournament in February.

Doors will open at noon each day, with the action starting at 1 p.m.

Admission will be $10 per day.

For more information about the event, call Jim Edwards at the Ryves Youth Center at (812) 235-1265.

• Back when I coached and played men¹s slowpitch softball, I was honored to have Terre Haute firefighter Jeff Stevens as a member of my teams.

I've been retired since 2005, but Stevens is still kicking butt and taking names.

Now 41, Stevens informed me about a relatively new craze in the sport that's gaining popularity in Indiana — indoor softball, which is perfect for these cold winter months.

Stevens has traveled with his men's team — Magic Bats out of Indianapolis — to the Indy Sports Park, where an indoor soccer field with turf is used for winter tournaments.

Stevens plans to return to Indy Sports Park with his Terre Haute coed team, Wolfe¹s Auto Auction, for a tournament Jan. 28.

Lineups for indoor softball include 10 batters, but only eight play the field, and there are various unique rules for when flyballs hit the ceiling.

Stevens said a low-compression softball that doesn't travel as far as regular balls is used during the 45-minute time-limit games (unless there's a tie score).

Hmmm, sounds like something fun for the Terre Haute Parks Department to consider.

David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.