56th Annual Pasco Invite Dedications-Julie Estes and Bill Leahy


The Pasco Invite is dedicated to these two who have greatly contributed to the success of Pasco athletes, the Pasco Invite, the WIAA State Cross Country meet and have given to community.


Julie Estes has been a Pasco Invite supporter since graduating from PHS in 1983.  She has only missed a few years in that time, while she was living outside of the Tri-Cities area.  Julie attended the Pasco School District throughout her schooling years; first at Mark Twain Elementary, then Stevens Middle School, and finally Pasco High.  Julie also was a competitor in the Pasco Invite when she was an athlete on the PHS track and field team.

     Julie has many great memories while being a part of the Pasco Invite.  She remembers watching the Wilson High School boys track team win the boys trophy with only six athletes that day.  Another great memory she has is her time she has spent working with many of the great volunteers year after year at the Pasco Invite.  But, one of her most important and meaningful memories is getting to see her three daughters, Sammantha, Cameron and Victoria all participate in athletics at Pasco High. 
They have, or will graduate from Pasco High and have been a part of the Pasco Invite, either as competitors or volunteering to be runners, give out awards, or helping with hurdles.

     Julie will tell you that one of her favorite things about the Pasco Invite is the family atmosphere at the finish line.  Julie’s main roles over the years have included being the lead communicator to the press box, running awards, and athlete check in near the 50-yard line.  Mother, Bette Ward was a member of the Pasco School Board and Dad, Larry, was an accountant and for many years was a timer/sponsor at the Pasco Invite.  Husband, Stacy is an assistant principal.

   Currently, Julie is a special education teacher at Rosaland Franklin STEM School where she continues to give back to her community by cultivating our next generation to be great community members of Pasco.  You can find Julie in the Edgar Brown concession stand or selling merchandise at volleyball & basketball games at Pasco High, as she is a devoted member of the Bulldog Booster Club.  She will tell you that she likes to coach Volleyball & that Sun-Kissed Saturdays are the Best.


Bill Leahy has been a Pasco Track & Cross Country supporter since 1983 when his son Adam started running Cross Country at Pasco High and has worked at the Pasco Invite as a timer & relay judge ever since.  Bill’s son Adam won the Pasco Invite 2 mile in 1986.  Adam went on to run for the University of Washington and presently is a track and cross country coach for White River.

     Bill was one of the first people to promote bringing the State Cross Country meet to Pasco in 1988. He has worked every State Cross Country Meet at the finish line.  This fall will make 30 continuous years that the meet has been at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.  In 1993 Bill was instrumental in building the Tri-Cities International Cross Country Course on Rd. 36 in Pasco, also know as Big Cross.  He & friend, Dale Fuller have faithfully maintained the course ever since.  Bill had directed a College Cross Country Invitational at Big Cross for seven years.  Some of our nations top runners ran at Big Cross including Adam Goucher, Allen Culpepper & Benard Legat.

     Bill is a graphic designer and advisor for Tri-Tech in Kennewick.  Bill and his wife, Judy live in a gorgeous brick home with a garage, with many antiques, that serves as his studio.  Bill designed the logo to the right for the first State Cross County Meet & we continue to use it for meets in Pasco.  His art has been on many running shirts in the Tri-Cities.  Many of you may have seen his Polar Bears on some of the Cable Bridge run t-shirts. Most weekday mornings you can find Bill running the trails in Zintel Canyon in Kennewick.


2017 Pasco Invite Memorial-Jim Swanda


   Longtime Pasco Bulldog and Chiawana Riverhawk supporter, James “Jim” Swanda was born in Pasco, attended Pasco schools and played basketball, which he loved, for the Pasco Bulldogs and Columbia Basin College.  He and brother, Mickey were alfalfa hay farmers north of Pasco and Cheney. Both have always been faithful fans of Pasco sports as season ticketholders.  The friendships he developed during his Pasco school years were dear and lifelong to him and Marilyn, his wife of 56 years.  She was always by his side for ballgames or Booster activities.  Their four daughters(Marcy, Shelly, Terry and Nancy) all attended Pasco High School. 

   As a Bulldog and Chiawana Booster, he stayed connected with Pasco and then with his 6 oldest grandchildren:  Marcus, Eric and Megan Aranda, Lucas, Mitchell and Austin Urlacher playing high school sports at Pasco High and Chiawana, he became an even bigger fan of more than just basketball.  He loved following all their sports, watching them, their friends and the all the kids of the community play for Pasco.  From Little League, Court Kids and Grid Kid games to the state championships, he was there showing his support with his big smile, a strong hand shake and his trademark colorful welder/farmer hats.  

   A highlight of his life was traveling in 2006 with the Bulldog Boosters to Juneau, Alaska to watch grandson Lucas and Coach Graff’s football team play a team in Juneau.  Later, that same season he would watch the Pasco Bulldogs tie a national record for the most overtimes, (9) in a High School football game.  He treasured these special times, many joyous, but some heartbreaking, with his family and the Pasco fans.  

    He is survived by his wife, daughter’s and son-in-laws, 10 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, sister, Marianne and brother Mickey.  His family appreciates the kindness of the community during his passing and the honor of him being remembered at the 2017 Pasco Invite.   A big “Thank-you” goes out from the Family of Jim Swanda.