Every year thousands of high school athletes make their way to Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse for the WIAA State Track and Field Championships. With schools from across Wisconsin attending, it wouldn't be possible without the hard work of volunteers.
Mike Chapes first volunteered at the meet 11 years ago and now organizes athletes as a clerk of course. Inspired by their father, Mike's two kids Grant and Dylan now volunteer their time making the meet run smoothly.
Mike Chapes's passion for track and field started when his high school coach asked for help with the team.
"I saw what it was like to give, and he's done so much for me in my life that I thought it was kind of great to give back to him,"Mike Chapes discloses.
Now, 30 years into his track and field career his two sons also want to give back.
"They have the love for the sport like I have a love for the sport, and it's just kind of something they want to do. It's not something they have to do," Mike Chapes elaborates.
Without that commitment from volunteers, the state meet might run much differently.
"I don't think any of this would be possible, volunteers are crucial to this whole entire event," four year state track volunteer Dylan Chapes describes.
"All of the guys that are checking for lanes, those that are helping with the starting blocks, athlete assistants, taking up the clothing, it's all important," Mike Chapes continues.
At first, Grant and Dylan filled smaller volunteer roles. With the knowledge they've gained throughout their years volunteering they now contribute to the efficiency of the meet.
"At first I was just responsible at ripping their numbers for their sides, and actually I've gone to check in just about every runner who has came through here," five year state track volunteer Grant Chapes explains.
An increase in responsibility that meet officials say will help the pair lead future volunteers.
"We just want to make sure that the tradition continues, and that's why we get the youth involved," Mike Chapes says.
Just because this year's meet is wrapping up doesn't mean you have to wait for next year to volunteer.
"Sign up, help out, give back to all those that have given to you. It will make everything a lot more wonderful in our community," Mike Chapes finishes.
It doesn't need to be volunteering in sports either. Mike continues to say, as long as your passionate about what you're doing the time will fly by.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the 2019 WIAA State Track Meet can search for volunteer information under the track and field tab of the WIAA website.