Hillsboro man winner of controversial AR-15 softball raffle - KPTV - FOX 12

Hillsboro man winner of controversial AR-15 softball raffle

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ST HELENS, OR (KPTV) -

The winner of a controversial St. Helens youth softball raffle has been named.

Allen Hays, of Hillsboro, is the proud new owner of an AR-15 rifle. The rifle was the big item raffled off by the St. Helens Girls Softball League last week as an effort to bring in money for the league.

When he first bought into the raffle, Hays said he never imagined he would ever win.

"You know, you buy a few tickets and you know your chances are slim, but you know there's always a chance," said Hays.

"Kids are the most important part of this, but unfortunately sometimes they get stomped on by adults being adults."

Not everyone stands by the league's radical fundraising efforts. While more than 300 tickets were sold, some parents thought a raffle with a gun as the prize is inappropriate for a youth softball league.

Since that raffle was announced, FOX 12 has learned two players threatened to leave, but league officials say so far only one 8-year-old girl actually quit.

But filling that void, the league says a Vernonia family signed up their daughter to play for St. Helens because of the gun raffle. The board also says they've actually gained sponsors because of the raffle, not lost them.

"It's not unexpected controversy," said league President Devin Degraffenreid.

"We're going to work together as community to overcome that, because 10 years from now no one will remember the controversy when they look at the difference we made at the field. We made an impact, that's what people will see."

As for what Hays plans to do with the gun:

"I'm going varmint hunting, there's lots of varmints out there," said Hays.

The league has already purchased new gear with the proceeds of the raffle and has plans to host another raffle on Saturday, March 30 at the Skinny's Texaco from 12 to 4 p.m.

The league says they plan to announce the details of what they plan to raffle off on their Facebook page.

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