MVP Weekend to benefit inner-city kids

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Executive Chef Tim Wetsergard, Mia Fleming, Damario Solomon-Simmons and Dean Hudgeons get ready for the MVP Weekend, set for June 24. STEPHEN PINGRY/ Tulsa World

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer
Published: 6/14/2011  2:25 AM
Last Modified: 6/14/2011  9:49 AM

Correction: A Tuesday Tulsa World Scene section column misspelled the name of former Booker T. Washington high school football player Robert Meachem, who plays for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. This story has been corrected.

Felix Jones II, native Tulsan and Dallas Cowboys running back, is returning to his hometown to host the third-annual MVP Charity Weekend, which raises money for Tulsa’s inner-city youth.

The weekend, which has a variety of activities, will feature the Blue Tie Fundraising Gala beginning at 8 p.m. June 24 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Williams Cos. is presenting the gala, which will include an MVP awards program, live music and silent and live auctions, including luxury items, exclusive sports memorabilia and one-on-one time with favorite celebrities of the sports and entertainment industry.

In addition, guests can mingle with some of today’s most recognizable names in the sports business, including Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys; Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints; Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings and Chris Chamberlain, St. Louis Rams.

“We have helped hundreds of Tulsa’s inner-city youth get closer to their goals through this charity weekend’s events and donations,” said Damario Solomon-Simmons, who co-founded MVP Weekend with his wife, Mia Fleming.

“We use the Weekend to inform, inspire and empower our youth to maximize all their opportunities – on and off the field – to be successful, productive and well-rounded citizens.”

The weekend also includes a golf tournament presented by Arvest Bank at 8:30 a.m. June 24.

Golfers will tee off at the Cherokee Hill Golf Club alongside Jones and a host of friends from sports and entertainment. Following the nine holes of golf, there will be an awards reception and lunch buffet.

The weekend also features a free football camp hosted by Jones from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25 at the University of Tulsa’s H.E. Chapman Stadium. The camp is focused on emphasizing the importance of academics and mental preparation in life to inner-city high school student athletes.

Tulsa Community College will also host a free college preparatory seminar to which parents are invited. The seminar will feature advice from college educators.

Sponsors for the weekend include Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Bill Knight Ford, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Solomon Simmons Sharrock & Associates, Arvest Bank, Gatorade, Sodexo, Williams, Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa.

To purchase tickets to the gala or golf tournament, or to learn more about MVP Weekend, visit

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer