Iba Awards Banquet to Honor Athletes

On Monday, June 22, the Henry P. Iba Citizens Athlete Awards banquet is scheduled at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel & Convention Center. The Iba awards annually recognize a male and female athlete who have excelled in their sport and are personally involved and dedicated to helping others.

Honored at this year’s event will be two outstanding professional athletes: famed mountain climber Melissa Arnot, the only woman to summit Mount Everest five times who was attempting her sixth in April when the earthquake hit Nepal, and Bixby native Chris Harris, Denver Broncos cornerback, Pro Bowler and chosen by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s best cornerback, who was awarded a five-year, $42 million contract last December.

Having just witnessed the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, Arnot will tell about this tragedy and how her foundation, The Juniper Fund, is providing support for expedition workers and their families affected by the earthquake. Just three years ago, Harris attended the Iba Awards as an rookie having been undrafted, locked out by a labor stoppage and then the Broncos made him their last training camp invitee. His story of being the “underdog” will be inspiring and he will talk about how his foundation helps children in Denver and Tulsa overcome obstacles.

The enthusiastic keynote speaker will be Coach Barry Hinson, who finished his third season as basketball coach at Southern Illinois and whose career includes 245 Division I coaching victories – including 36 wins and two conference championships in two seasons at . Back by popular demand as the entertaining master of ceremonies will be Seth Davis, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, author and college basketball host and analyst for Sports.

This black-tie event starts at 6:00 p.m. with a celebrity reception sponsored by CommunityCare, followed by dinner and the awards presentation. Live music will be performed by Tulsa Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet. Some of the sports celebrities expected to attend include AD Mike Carter, TU AD Derrick Gragg, TU Coach Phil Montgomery, TU Coach Matilda Mossman, former University of Kansas men’s basketball coach Ted Owens, Tulsa Shock President Steve Swetoha and Tulsa Shock Coach Fred Williams. Tickets are $175 each and table sponsorships are still available.

According to Chairman Tom Klenda, this year’s event will be exceptionally memorable. Proceeds from the 22nd annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards event primarily fund the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation, which uses only its earnings to support local nonprofits with an emphasis on projects benefitting young people. In addition, recipients will receive $20,000 to support their foundations. More info is available at ibaawards.com or call the Rotary office at 918-584-7642.

Updated 05-27-2015

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