Former Rawhide owner to be roasted

Sports legends and local dignitaries roast local celebrity Stan Simpson at Inaugural Rotary Club Roast


VISALIA–The hot seat during a roast is an interesting place to be while your friends and colleagues joke with exaggerated stories of your successes and failures. Former Visalia Rawhide owner Stan Simpson will get that honor after the Rotary Club of Visalia announced the line-up of local and national celebrities for its inaugural roast.

“As long as I stay moderately sober than they can say whatever they want,” Simpson said. “It’s all going to be in good fun and I’m looking forward to it.”

The roast will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Visalia Convention Center starting with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and roast at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofit organizations and student scholarships.

Roasters on the dais are Dr. Joseph Castro, Fresno State; Amy Shuklian, Tulare County supervisor; Bob Link, Visalia mayor; and Taurie Thayer, local entertainer.

Two of the roasters participating via video are NFL coaching legend Don Shula and former NFL referee and current motivational speaker Jim Tunney. Simpson met both Shula and Tunney through his membership at Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Monterey. All three of the individuals call the peninsula their second home.

“We are all close friends,” Simpson said. “It’s a small world when you go out and meet people.”

Simpson remembers a time when Shula was asked how good of a referee Tunny was. According to Simpson, Shula’s reply was, “One year we had a vote and he finished second, but the rest of the referees all tied for first.”

The rest of the videos will include Cleveland Indians coach and Exeter, Calif. native Brad Mills and Tom Seidler, part owner of the San Diego Padres and Visalia Rawhide.

“Seidler loved the minor leagues,” Simpson said. “He put a lot of emphasis on that level and in the Visalia area.”

The evening will also feature dancing to music by Run4Cover. Dinner and roast tickets are $100 each and sponsorship opportunities are available.

Simpson is a fourth generation Visalian and a graduate of Redwood High School. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in insurance and real estate in 1963 from San Jose State University and began his insurance career with Buckman-Mitchell Inc. in 1964. He worked for his grandfather C. T. Buckman, who founded the agency.

Within the community, Simpson and his wife, Wendy, have supported many good causes. He was president of the Visalia Rotary Club, president of the Visalia Economic Development Corporation, and chairman of the Tulare County Office of Education Foundation. He owned the Visalia Oaks baseball team in the 1980s. A part of that time span he and Don Higgins co-owned the team from 1983-1988. Simpson ended up selling the Oaks to Dodger great and MLB Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. Then Seidler purchased the club in 1993 after Drysdale passed.

Simpson has also been awarded many titles for his accomplishments. He received Man of the Year by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce in 1995, and was awarded the Ramsden-Sullivan award in recognition of his outstanding service to the insurance industry and the community.

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