The Arndt family -- Rick and Cathy of Millstadt have 13 boys and a girl -- are used to celebrating birthdays, but never one like this.
They and hundreds of friends will be celebrating the 15th Safe At Home Softball Classic on Sunday at Laderman Park in Belleville. Since its beginning in 1999, the Classic has been a not-for-profit outreach event, put on by Safe At Home Christian Fellowship.
In addition to the big Arndt Family vs. Celebrities tripleheader softball games, they promise good food, uplifting music, kids games, trivia contests and special guests.
Rusty Bumgardener, Team USA and professional softball star, will share his faith and will take part in the home run derby, which begins about 2:30 p.m. Rusty is known for his 500-foot blasts. Recently retired Chicago Cubs pitcher Randy Wells, of Belleville, also will take his cuts.
Internationally known Christian recording artist Leann Albrecht, who sings with Women of Faith and other groups, will share her faith story and songs, accompanied by her husband Carl on guitar.
Main activities begin at 5 p.m. with greetings, opening songs and prayer. The traditional tripleheader will follow at 6. The Arndt family will take on three opponients: The Media All-Star team, consisting of TV and radion personalities; the St. Louis Cardinals front office team; and the Rawlings/Worth All-Star Team.
"This year, we're actually a pretty good softball team," said Paul Arndt, one of the sons who will be playing. "Maybe it's because some of the younger ones are getting older and bigger and stronger. Sometimes in the past we weren't so good. But this year, we are 60 and 9. So they should be some good games."
A Chicago Ball tournament will be held earlier in the day. The fee is $150 per team.
Admission to the grounds and softball tripleheader is free. There is a charge for food and individual skill games, with the proceeds benefiting the Arndts' Safe At Home Ministry.
To sign up for the home run derby (prizes include $300 Worth softball gear) or the Chicago Ball tournament, call 618-920-6039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. For more information, go to www.famteam.com.