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Baggo for benefit: Remembering Mulichak

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Published: Mon, September 17, 2007 @ 10:30 a.m.

The Royal Oaks is hosting the event.

YOUNGSTOWN - Once in a while, maybe even once in a lifetime, you meet a genuinely nice, caring person.

That's the way friends described Steve Mulichak.

Mark Crissman of Youngstown met Mulichak in high school. Crissman went to Poland’s high school and Mulichak went to Youngstown’s Wilson High. The two of them got into a fist fight one day at a McDonald’s, and had been friends ever since.

“The kid was very outgoing,” Crissman said. “He was a fun-loving guy. Very ‘carpe-diemish.’ ”

Crissman said Mulichak frequented The Royal Oaks. He was friends with the owner and many of the patrons.

Like most other patrons, Mulichak parked in the lot behind the bar, Crissman said. He loved music and it wasn’t unlike him to sit and listen in his vehicle after the bar closed.

On Sept. 21, 2003, Mulichak was leaving the bar as usual. He turned on his car to listen to music and fell asleep. He never woke up.

Crissman said the report came back from the coroner’s office and stated that Mulichak died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“There was a bad exhaust and a hole in the floor board,” Crissman said. “It’s very simple, but very tragic at the same time.”

Joe Halas of Austintown said he met Mulichak about four or five years ago, so he didn’t know him long at all. That didn’t stop them from becoming good friends and getting to know each other well, Halas said.

“Steve was definitely a light in people’s lives,” he said. “He was always positive, always willing to help you out, always fun.”

Halas said Mulichak taught him a very important lesson in live: “If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else.”

Now the Royal Oaks is getting ready to once again help others out.

John Kennedy, owner of the Oaks, is hosting the Fourth Annual Steve Mulichak Memorial Baggo Tournament on Friday. Baggo is a game in which players take turns pitching small bags filled with corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end.

It costs $10 per person, which includes participation and a buffet of Oaks originals. It will be a blind draw — partners will be picked from a hat at random— and there is a pay-out for first place only.

“That’s Steve,” Kennedy said. “If you didn’t win, you ain’t nothing. We don’t award second place.”

Half of the proceeds will go to the winner while the other half will be donated to Boardman United Methodist Church’s youth group. Steve was a member of the church, and a music lover, so the money is earmarked to benefit the kids and music, Kennedy said.

The actual tournament begins at 6 p.m. There will be a DJ there early, and Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival will play later in the evening. For the tournament, Lansing Avenue will be blocked off the length of the Royal Oaks property and to play eight or more Baggo games at the same time.

“That’s one of the great things about Youngstown, they let you do stuff like this,” Kennedy said. “That’s why I love this town.”

Kennedy said last year, there were nine boards and close to 40 teams. He said the deal of the day is that everyone who was friends with Mulichak has to suffer by drinking nothing but Schaefer beer, because that’s all Mulichak drank.

“When a lot of people show up, it means you’re very well loved and very respected,” Halas said. “Never to be forgotten.”

Kennedy agreed: “He’s gone, but he ain’t forgotten.”


Royal Oaks

924 Oak St., Youngstown

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