The SS BADGER has helped connect passengers for almost 70 years for a variety of reasons. For the first time in history, she has connected the greater Ludington and Manitowoc communities for inaugural displays of sportsmanship.
On Thursday, August 26th, the Mason County Central Spartan’s Cross Country team departed for Two Rivers, Wisconsin to compete in a race like never before. This was the first time the team has traveled across state lines, let alone across Lake Michigan.
Coach Ed Sanders was happy to see the kids make friends with athletes from the other side of the lake. “About 5 or 6 of our students have never been outside of the state of Michigan and a few of them had never been outside of Mason County. It was a fun and exciting way to create new memories for the kids.”
Sanders said that this has been a few years in the making. He went online to search for races within a 75-mile radius of Scottville, which is just outside of Ludington. When Two Rivers popped up, which is right outside of Manitowoc, he thought that it would be a neat opportunity to utilize the SS BADGER to take the students on a trip of a lifetime and get some new race experience. The Spartans were the smallest team in attendance, but they still gave it their all. Even though they placed in the bottom half, the students enjoyed their time and are already looking forward to next year. They were greeted with friendship, hospitality, and smiles as the Two River’s coach had shirts made for the MCC Spartans. “Everyone was so gracious, everything came together so nicely,” commented Sanders.
On Friday, August 27th the Ludington Orioles High School Boys’ Soccer team departed for a scrimmage in Manitowoc with Lincoln High School and Luxemburg-Casco High School. The teams made history as they competed in the Inaugural “Carferry Cup”, a term the schools created. Head coach Kris Anderson stated, “I think it’s a cool opportunity between two communities as we share the boat. Our goal is to do this every year and alternate. It’s a great opportunity to experience the boat and getting to play a game in a different area. It’s a unique situation that isn’t just a typical ‘get on the bus’ and go. It’s an adventure.”
The Ludington boys’ team won the inaugural Carferry Cup with a score of 3-0 and brought home the traveling trophy. Anderson has been coaching soccer for 25 years - the last 10 years coaching the boy’s team – and this was his first time taking a team out of the state. The Head Coaches are already talking about dates for next year and the thought is to include different area teams each year to keep it fun and different for each time they meet. The trip was a few years in the making as COVID put a hold on their plans. “We are excited to bring Manitowoc to Ludington next year and keep the tradition going,” Anderson stated. The Ludington team created "Carferry Cup" shirts for both sides of the lake and were proud to wear them onboard.
With two amazing port cities such as Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the SS BADGER is thrilled to play a role in connecting the two for great causes. “It was one of many highlights this season to be able to bring these student-athletes together in such a memorable way,” says Shelby Soberalski, Director of Marketing and Sales. “We are looking forward to exploring more opportunities to connect local athletes of all sports and ages via our historic SS BADGER.”
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