Life comes at you pretty fast.

A few short weeks ago, I was a newspaper man. I had worked in the industry for almost 25 years and I’ve been a publisher for almost 10 of those.

Suddenly, I am an event planner and I am talking to one of my childhood heroes on his cell phone like we’re best buddies.

I wish I would have made this a New Year’s resolution because it would have sounded crazy at the time and it would have been really impressive now that it actually happened.

This event is going to be proof that there is almost nothing that you can’t accomplish with a great team of talented people working almost around the clock for several weeks straight. If this event isn’t a huge success, it won’t be because of a lack of effort.

If it is, it will be because of great food, great sponsors, a great venue and great speakers honoring great athletes from this area. That’s a lot of greatness in one building at one time.

You have to start with the venue. Many of our sister papers would be so jealous of the venue where we get to hold this event. Firelake Arena is a perfect spot to host a huge event like this with the huge space and the big screens overhead and on either side of the stage. Joe Washington’s highlight reel before he speaks and the video we are creating to introduce the awards portion of the event will look great thanks to the technology Firelake Arena has available.

We have more than 500 people planning to attend the Best of News-Star Preps event Monday, May 8. Buffalo Wild Wings is catering a VIP get together where sponsors and lucky invitees will get to meet Joe Washington and Greg Pruitt – still among the best running backs ever to play at Oklahoma University.

The best part is that both men enjoy talking to fans as much as fans love getting to meet them.

They’ve been friends since high school and their message will be great for top-notch student athletes to hear – and there will be a lot of laughs along the way.

Those attending the banquet will enjoy a dinner catered by Paul’s Place. That’s worth the price of admission by itself.

I have jokingly explained the event as being the ESPYs for Shawnee, but that’s really not that far off. We have a red carpet entrance – the carpet is green, but the idea is the same. Students and their friends and family will be photographed as they arrive in front of our custom backdrop.

All of the Athletes of the Week and finalists for Player of the Year in their respective sports will be honored during the evening and have a chance to have a photo taken with Washington and Pruitt after receiving their awards.

In addition to each sport’s top athlete being named, an overall Boy and Girl Athlete of the Year will be chosen. The top boys and girls coaches from the area will also be honored.

There have been many businesses who joined the News-Star to sponsor the event and put together something we think will become a special Shawnee event every year.

Our goal is to make Best of News-Star Preps the biggest and best event in Shawnee every year.

The first installment is only eight days away. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the first athletes come walking down that carpet.

It’s going to be great.