CNMI Sports Hall of Famer Kurt Barnes got a belated birthday gift as he was named Administrator of the Year during the 2015 NMSA Annual Sports Banquet held last Saturday at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Barnes, who celebrated his 75th birthday last month, received the coveted award for a sports official in the Commonwealth for his outstanding work with Northern Marianas Sports Association where he serves as vice president.
The former Northern Marianas Athletics president through the help of Northern Marianas Housing Corporation and NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi secured funding for the renovation of the Oleai Sports Complex track and field facility. He was instrumental, too, in getting a tax exempt status for the Northern Marianas Sports Foundation, which he heads. Barnes also chairs the NMSA Hall of Fame Selection Committee, doing research on the four newest members of the elite group.
Fellow CNMI Hall of Famer Jeff Race of tennis presented the Administrator of the Year award to Barnes, while NMSA president Michael White enumerated the awardee’s achievements last year.
“It’s an award that symbolizes working as a team, especially with Tony Rogolifoi, for the good of sports in the community,” Barnes said when asked of the significance of the Administrator of the Year plum to his long list of feats.
The award could also be a fitting farewell for the long-time sports official, as he is considering relocation to the mainland to spend more time with his triplet brothers.
Pending his final decision, Barnes will continue with his work at NMSA, which he hopes will also honor athletes in masters division in its future recognition ceremony.
“I would like to see more masters sports in the CNMI, even with Master Athletes of the Year awards at the NMSA Sports Banquet. There are a lot of athletes in their 50s, 60s, and 70s who still compete at a very high level on a regular basis,” the septuagenarian said.
He also has two visions which he wishes NMSA will adopt.
“The first one is more participation in individual sports, such as weightlifting, wrestling, bodybuilding, stand-up paddling, tennis, and badminton, and martial arts and team sports that the CNMI has had a history of success in international competition, such as baseball, fast pitch softball (men and women), and indoor volleyball, which is an island sport and can be played anywhere,” the former Dean of Students at Northern Marianas College said.
“The second vision is the building or renovation of existing athletic facilities—such as a covered grandstand at Tan Ko baseball field/Tan Ge softball field, an air-conditioned Ada gym, extended grandstand at the track facility, and a world class soccer pitch/facility, all of which the entire community can be proud of,” Barnes said.