The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


U.S. Military All-Stars set to return to Oil City Stadium

06/22/2016 3:48 PM -

Whiting, Ind. – June 22 2016 – Over the last four seasons, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen have delivered a memorable experience to fans each and every night.

There are two special nights – July 1, 2012 and 2013 – that stand above the rest. Not only did the Oilmen take the field and provide the quality entertainment fans have come to expect, but they did so with America’s heroes sitting in the opposite dugout.

The emotion, patriotism and pride those two evenings provided will return on July 4, when the U.S. Military All-Stars come back to Northwest Indiana to take on the Oilmen.

“We have such a significant date – Independence Day – at a repeat place with people that know us, so I’m really looking forward to it,” U.S. Military All-Stars Commander Tank Stone said. “We have players from our 2012, 2013 and 2015 teams coming back. We truly have a team full of All-Stars from all branches of service around the world.”

All U.S. Military All-Star players are active duty servicemen.

“We are looking forward to having these soldiers, sailors and marines back here in Northwest Indiana,” Oilmen President Don Popravak said. “I know it will be the biggest event of the summer.”

Tickets for the event are on sale now on for $10, with proceeds benefiting the Northwest Indiana Veterans Action Council. In addition, the same ticket gives the ticketholder access to a pregame concert featuring High Noon band, which begins at High Noon at Oil City Stadium.

The Oilmen, now in their fifth season, have held an early July game to benefit the Northwest Indiana Veterans Action Council every season in team history. This year marks the first time the game will take place on Independence Day.

“What an exciting date for them to return to the area, the Fourth of July, how patriotic,” Popravak said. “We will have the U.S. Military All-Stars join us in the parade, which is the longest running parade in the state of Indiana. It will be day to remember.”

Perhaps more noteworthy than the game itself will be the pregame ceremony, which will evoke emotion and pride in the country’s military personnel.

“We lead with honor,” Stone said. “We honor veterans, all men and women who have worn a uniform in defense of our freedom. We’ll be reaching out to veteran-owned businesses and veteran support groups around the area.”

Although the U.S. Military All-Star players are recognized first and foremost for their service to our country, fans will also come to appreciate their baseball prowess. Following the 2012 and 2013 games, Oilmen players and coaches raved about the team’s talent.

Stone expects an ultra-talented roster this season and said the U.S. Military All-Stars could soon add to their list of alumni to advance to the professional ranks.

For one night this year, the home fans will not be cheering for the home team. And Oilmen players and coaches have no problem with that. In fact, they too may be pulling for the U.S. Military All-Stars.

“These are some of the young men that decided to serve their country before the needs of their own baseball careers,” Stone said. “I’d love veterans to really pay attention to what these young men have been doing to defend our freedom. They’re traveling because they get to bring veterans and communities together. The game is phenomenal; come out and you’ll enjoy the show.”

Stone, a radio personality in the Nashville area for several decades and a Vietnam Era U.S. Navy Veteran, started working with the team in 2009 to help with fundraising, marketing and voiceovers. In 2012, he went on the road for the first time, driving his own RV with 14 or 15 players.

“I fell in love with it,” Stone said. “When the previous commander retired, I was all in. Baseball is a great American pastime, and on top of that, it’s something that’s very unique – barnstorming across the United States. It’s a wonderful way to tie the communities in, because it’s honorable to lift our veterans up.”