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Friend of NYSOMA

This award was established by the NYSOMA Board of Directors to honor the service of individuals, who through personal action demonstrate, in an extraordinary way, those social values affirmed to the goals of New York State Odyssey of the Mind. The inscription on the plaque reads: “In recognition and appreciation of unique talents and creative energies offered on behalf of NYSOMA.”

NYSOMA is pleased to present this year’s award to Rick Pray!

Many years ago a student persuaded his father to coach his Odyssey team, since the team needed a coach. Little did this father know that this would be the start of a 30-year long Odyssey journey coaching his son’s team then adding his daughter’s team so coaching 2 teams at once. As the kids grew older and coaching was no longer needed he became a judge for problems 1 and 2.  His involvement grew as he volunteered to join the NY Odyssey Board and became it’s chairperson.  All while running his own business.



Rick Pray is the perfect example of a person passionate about Odyssey of the Mind and the value the program holds to our young people as seen in coaching for 10 years, taking his team to World Finals to receive a Ranatra Fusca award to then continue to judge once his children graduated school. His commanding presence could be felt as a Head Judge at both regional tournaments and State Finals in the way he supported his judging teams, communicated with coaches and always aired on the side of the students.

Rick though went above and beyond and joined the NYSOMA Board of Directors in 2002 after redesigning and building the then “new and improved” Creativity Booth and manning it at World Finals. Remember the beavers launching all those ping-pong balls?


Rick was a Board member and the Board Chairperson for many years. During this time there was nothing he wasn’t prepared to help with, from reaching out to local businesses selling ads in the state finals program book, to helping with printing banners and signs and to providing a corner in his business location to store supplies and inventory. 


Known for his quirky sense of humor, his willingness to help anybody and his strong leadership qualities that have helped guide the NYSOMA Board in so many ways and for so many years, Rick is the epitome of Odyssey. 


For all these reasons and more, NYSOMA is delighted to award Rick Pray the Friend of NYSOMA award to recognize all that he has given in support of the program in New York State.

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Previous Recipients


Jim Hoelscher



Lynette Bryan & Family


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Arlene Sampson


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Sue Pircio


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Sharon Porter


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Jane Hogan



Wayne Otte



Leon Frost



Sharlene Smith



Rich Outtrim


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Jackie Otte


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Bill Everett


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