By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)

Ken Scearce’s enduring legacy at the Sin City Classic lives on in the celebration of Ken’s life through the annual Ken Scearce award that recognizes the leadership and dedication of an individual who has “bettered their local LGBTQ+ sports league”.

The recipient is selected based on a nomination process in which any person is able to nominate a teammate or colleague, sharing why they believe the nominee deserves the award. The organizing committee of the Sin City Classic then chooses the award recipient based on the leadership qualities of the nominee and their contributions to the LGBTQ+ sport community.

The 2024 Ken Scearce Award winner is Mark Hedelund of Cheer Seattle and the Pride Cheerleading Association. Mark’s contribution, passion, and leadership to help advance charitable cheerleading and the development of both Cheer Seattle and the Pride Cheerleading Association have been second to none. In the last 10 years, Mark has volunteered hundreds of thousands hours to founding and growing both organizations where he has served in practically every role on the leadership board. Mark’s leadership has helped Cheer Seattle grow by 45% in the 2023 season alone and has helped collectively raise over $100,000 for charity.

Mark’s efforts have been previous recognized and awarded by both Compete Sports Diversity and Cheer Seattle, but his work and outreach continue to inspire and bring his community together. As his nominee put it,  “Mark is part of the glue that bonds our organization together and helps new and returning members to feel included and seen.”

“Mark has co-founded and created an organization that has made such a difference in the lives of people in our community and has done every ounce of it out of the good of his heart and the pride of hard work. Mark has gone above and beyond for Cheer Seattle and the world of LGBTQ+ sports for more than a decade.” 

We congratulate Mark on this amazing honor and recognition of the amazing work and impact Mark has had on the LGBTQ+ sports community. Mark will be representing Cheer Seattle and the Pride Cheerleading Association this weekend at the Sin City Classic to raise money for LGBTQ+ charity, Golden Rainbow. You can find Mark with Cheer Seattle at the opening party on Friday evening, he will also be aboard the “Cheer Bus” that will be stopping at several Sin City Classic sports on Saturday, as well as the Cheerleading Competition on Sunday at the Flamingo Hotel (same ballroom as opening party). Be sure to congratulate Mark and donate funds to his spirit bucket to support Cheer Seattle’s and PCA’s mission of #CharitableCheerleading.

Photo Credit: Mark Hedelund