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Six tapped to join sports Hall

SoVaNow.com / February 18, 2013
The Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall of Fame celebrates its 25th anniversary with a six-man class of inductees, including the first Virginian to win the Daytona 500, a former standout Halifax County High School pitcher who made an impact on the Hokie baseball program, and other inductees with a strong body of athletic accomplishment.

One inductee, the late Everett Taylor, is being inducted posthumously.

The Hall of Fame is celebrating its silver anniversary with induction ceremonies planned for Saturday, April 6, at the Halifax County Middle School.

Inductees include:

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver/Sportsman Ward Burton.

Burton’s signature racing achievement in NASCAR is his 2002 Daytona 500 Sprint Cup win. Burton is now helping to guide his son Jeb’s racing career.

Ward Burton had a reasonably successful 17-year NASCAR career in his prime, collecting five Sprint Cup wins and four in the Nationwide Series.

Burton had a very successful three-year stint, including the 2002 campaign, when he had two wins, three top fives and eight top tens in 36 starts on what’s now known as the Sprint Cup, and 2001, when he had one win, six top fives and ten top tens.

Burton also had a strong 2000 season in the Cup series, winning once with four top fives and 17 top tens in 34 starts.

He is the older brother of Sprint Cup regular Jeff Burton.

Burton made an indelible mark in NASCAR with a loyal fan base, and a distinctive Southern speaking style that helped to set him apart in the garage and on the public stage as a NASCAR original.

He has been honored for his largely behind-the-scenes generosity towards causes he wants to promote both on a local and national level.

Burton’s most endearing legacy likely will be his work in land and wildlife conservation. Ward started the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, which has established a mission “to conserve America’s land and wildlife through wise stewardship while educating children and adults about the natural resources that will shape America’s future,” according to the website of the organization.

Burton is also involved with American Heroes and the Wounded Warriors programs at the Cove in Halifax County, part of the extensive outreach of the Wildlife Foundation. Here, wounded warriors and veterans have spent several afternoons in past years relaxing and enjoying a variety of outdoor activities, with assistance from the Wildlife Foundation and its partners.

Burton has also emerged recently as a leading advocate for keeping the ban on uranium mining in Virginia.



Lawson Osborne Jr., football stalwart

Osborne played for a past Hall of Fame inductee, former Comet coach Coleman Starnes, as the high school program enjoyed a significant revival in the late 1960s.

Osborne is regarded as an excellent running back who had an impact on rushing and touchdown records in 1967 and 68, winning all-western district, all-region and all-state honors along the way.

Osborne was a three-sport athlete at HCHS, including basketball, football and track.

He landed a full scholarship to Virginia Tech following high school.

Osborne, a native of South Boston and the son of long-time South Boston fire chief Lawson ‘Fats’ Osborne, also had extensive community work.He has also provided military service.

Osborne played for the Comets in the 1966 season under the late Bob Merritt. The burly athlete was part of arguably the most dramatic turnaround in the history of Comet football, playing two seasons with Starnes, including the coach’s first team that went 5-5 in 1967 and the 1968 squad that went 8-2.

Osborne lives in Richmond following a long career with the Air National Guard.

Richard Wilkins, football standout, community leader

Richard Wilkins will join the 2013 Hall of Fame class. Wilkins played football at the all-black Mary Bethune High School before integration in Halifax County and had an outstanding career, earning all-district honors and special recognition as the most outstanding lineman in his district during his senior year.

Wilkins later played college football at the University of Maryland State-Eastern Shore, in Princess Anne, Md. He had a productive career there and later had a professional tryouts with the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Houston Oilers, when these teams were part of the old AFL before the NFL merger.

Wilkins’ professional aspirations were cut short by injuries.

Wilkins’ nephew, Joe Wilkins, was a member of the 1991 HCHS Comet state title team.

Richard Wilkins has returned to South Boston and has become a very successful builder and contractor. He is a member of the Jeter Chapel Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and adult Sunday School teacher.

Wilkins and his wife, Bonnie, reside on Jeffress Blvd. in South Boston.



Todd Trickey, baseball player, coach, and Hokie standout

Todd Trickey had an outstanding legacy at HCHS for baseball, but he was also a basketball and tennis stalwart.

Trickey, who also made his presence felt during the summertime Dixie Youth and Babe Ruth baseball circles, was a three-year starter for the baseball team. He had a very strong baseball career. Trickey made all-state his senior year and helped lead the Comet program to the state semifinals in baseball.

Trickey was a winner of the T.C. Watkins athletic award given annually at HCHS to the top male athlete .

Trickey had an outstanding career at Tech, winning freshman all-American honors and special recognition as the most valuable senior for the Hokie program. Trickey was also a captain for the program and earned his degree at Tech in 1984.

Trickey had a 27-8 career mark as a pitcher at Tech, still third all-time in wins in the history of the program.

Trickey played for longtime coach Chuck Hartman and learned many diamond lessons. He later returned to work with another Hall of Famer, Scooter Dunn, and was the pitching coach for eight years for Dunn.

Trickey later served as a volunteer youth baseball coach for the Dixie Boys and Dixie Majors program. He led one team to a 13-year-old state title in Dixie Boys and a 14-year-old state title in Dixie Boys. Trickey’s teams also won a state title in pre-Majors.

Trickey also helped coach the revived American Junior Legion program one season, leading that team to a state tournament berth.

Louie Seabolt Jr., continuing a family Hall tradition.

Seabolt’s dad, Louie, Sr., is already a local Hall of Famer.

Seabolt played little league baseball for the American Legion team in South Boston, and was a member of the 1955 Virginia State little league championship squad. He later was the starting shortstop for the Halifax County High School team for three years.

He was later selected by the Virginia State champions in Gretna to accompany their team to the Connie Mack league national championships in St. Joseph, Mo.

Seabolt played college baseball at Virginia and was a two-year starter. He played third base and shortstop. He also played in the Shenandoah Valley league.

The versatile former Comet played quarterback for HCHS and shared duties there in his senior season with another future Hall of Famer, Bill Vanney.

The HCHS squad went 8-2 in 1959.

Everett Taylor, youth sports leadership

Taylor played football and baseball in high school in Siler City, S.C., and moved to South Boston when he finished his military service with the U.S. Navy.

He then had a long career with youth baseball and other sports in the community.

Taylor started as an assistant coach in South Boston in Dixie Youth in 1964, and then became a head coach a couple of years later.

Taylor became a district director for Dixie Youth and held that position for 25 years, before taking over for Hall of Famer Charlie Moorefield as the state director. Taylor held that position for three years.

Taylor also coached in the Babe Ruth league. He also coached in the local Pee Wee football program, working with the Polar Bears.

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