The Sumter Item to host 2nd-annual The Bobbys in June


Sumter continues to produce thrilling matchups and student-athletes when it comes to high school sports, and The Sumter Item will continue celebrating them with the second-annual Espy Awards-style program, The Bobbys.

Inspired by ESPN's sports awards show and building on the reception of Item programs like Best of Sumter and Athlete of the Year, The Bobbys, named after Sumter native and Yankees legend Bobby Richardson, is a red carpet awards gala celebrating the best in Sumter-area sports. Beginning in May, readers will vote for their favorite high school athletes from the 2023-24 school year, and winners will be recognized at Sumter Opera House on Thursday, June 20. Community partners will present The Bobbys awards and scholarships to the individual award winners.

The event will be open to the public.

"The Bobbys connects the past, present and future of Sumter sports," Publisher Vince Johnson said. "The support of the local business community, having that connection and supporting these incredible young athletes, is a lot of fun and creates long-lasting memories."

Last year's inaugural program was recently named "Best Niche Ballot" in the 15th-Annual Second Street Awards, the nation's leading promotions platform that works with more than 4,000 newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations.

Numerous sports and types of high school athletes will be included, with more than 15 categories in all. In addition to The Bobbys awards, The Item will also announce the winner of the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Year at the event.

With support from event partners, scholarships for student-athletes will also be given out this year.

While there are stars currently in professional sports for which Sumter is proud they call home, when it came to naming the awards program and gala, there was really only one option.

"I look at it as you using me to honor them, and I appreciate the honor of being asked to let my name do that," Richardson has told The Item. "This community has been so great to me."

Richardson won the World Series MVP in 1960, but his three World Series championships all came in other years, making him the only MVP from a losing team.

Richardson will again be a featured guest this year. The keynote speaker will be another living local legend: Dexter Davis.

Davis was a starter for Clemson between 1988-90 and helped the Tigers reach a 10-2 record and finish in the top 12 each year. After his junior year, he was a fourth-round draft choice in 1991 and played for six years with the Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams. He has taken college and high school coaching jobs, is a business owner and active in the community after returning to his hometown of Sumter to be a part of Liberty STEAM Charter School. In 2022, he was the recipient of the 2022 Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award.

For more information about partnering with The Sumter Item to help celebrate local high school sports or to become a presenting sponsor of an award, contact your sales representative or email

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