Wheatland man ups his game to become professional umpire

Chad Williams who is now a professional umpire began his work as an officiant coming out of the stands to ump local Wheatland youth baseball and softball. Williams also is an official in Platte County for football and basketball.

WHEATLAND – A So-Cal boy who found his passion in Wyoming on a Little League Baseball diamond has launched into the deep of professional sports.

Chad Williams, Wheatland resident is going on the road to follow his heart and fulfill a destiny to be a part of the boys of summer.  After training at a special umpire school in Florida, Williams is now certified to be a professional umpire and will begin his career this spring.

Growing up in San Diego, Williams says that it’s a gigantic change living in Wyoming.

“It’s a culture shock,” he said. “There, everything’s kind of handed to you on a silver platter and everything’s just given to you. I saw it, but I was brought up differently. Everything you got, you had to work for.”

Perhaps that is why Williams found his niche in Wyoming. It’s a blue-collar state where people are raised on hard work and when you go to bed at night you are tired, but find that it’s a “good tired,” knowing that you have earned and accomplished.

“My parents were workaholics, so by the time I was 8-years-old I was independent,” he said. “My parents were both civil servants for the government and worked for the Navy.”

Williams was an overachiever as a child and graduated from high school almost two years early. He wanted to get out on his own and start his life. The colors that ooze from the tapestry are amazing.

“Everything I got, I went out and worked for,” Williams said. “I didn’t get the privilege card. I was absent the day they handed that out in school.”

Williams went on to try on several hats during his illustrious work career which included pulling out transmissions from cars, working construction, laying concrete, installing underground utilities and building homes. One of the most colorful jobs he describes is working as a bail bondsman in Colorado.

Also throwing into William’s mix are three major injuries that have left him with some severe pain at middle age.

“The first major injury I had in my life happened down in Larksburg, Colorado,” Williams said. “I fell off of a roof Sept. 22, 1999. I landed in a walkout basement face-first from three floors up. I didn’t break a bone. I did, however decide after that to work for an underground utility company.”

He had his second major injury while hammering poured cement pylons.

“It sent a vibration through the head of a 20 lb. sledge,” Williams said. “It went through the handle of the hammer up my arm, stopped at my elbow and tore the muscle in the elbow off and had to have it reconstructed.”

He left construction and became a bail bondsman and a fugitive recovery agent in Colorado.

After three accidents, the third being a car accident that caused him to have to have L4,L5 and S1 spinal fusion, he made his way to Wyoming. After marrying Carolyn, his wife, a decision was made to relocate to Wheatland as she had family here in the area.

As to getting into umpiring baseball, football and refereeing basketball games, Williams never despises his day of small beginnings.

“I had two sons and they both wanted to play Little League here in Wheatland,” Williams said. “They ran into a situation here where they didn’t have any umpires. They pulled me out of the stands and asked me to umpire, and I agreed. I loved it and did it for about three years as one of their main umpires.”

That was five or six years ago to the best of his recollection. His inspiration according to Williams was Chris Leathers who also loves umpiring and currently is aspiring to go and ref D1 football.

“I told my wife that construction was killing my body,” he said. “Like, wracked with pain daily. Umpiring doesn’t hurt me. I wanted to umpire baseball. Because I really like it.”

Williams talks about himself being on the third team on the field. The team that doesn’t hardly get noticed until a close call is made. Then you are the center of attention.

“They told us in umpire school,” Williams said. “We’re the third team that takes the field and we’re always hated, but we always win. As for my peers and the coaches we deal with, they kind of respect you for not backing down and are able to take their verbal abuse.”

Williams made his decision with the support of his family and went back to school. This time, however it was umpire school. He ended up going to the Minor League Umpire Training Academy in Vero Beach, Florida. The training lasted four weeks and the fifth week was spent at the umpire training course.

“I am now officially certified,” Williams said. “And yes, I would definitely love to go on to be a major league umpire. If I had the chance and I had the avenue to get there you bet. I just started my journey and the journey takes years.”

At 43, Williams feels that he can have a long and prosperous career in minor league and perhaps major league baseball.

“I’m going to be starting my career in the Expedition League,” he said. “The league covers Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada. It’s a college wood bat league. Basically, what that is part of the independent professional baseball minor league.”

Williams could potentially be on the road from February to November, but he is currently deciding just how much travel and how much time he can take away from the family. Although they have been supportive, he says that being gone from them will be the hardest part.

Working full time on the road could be very lucrative depending on how many games he wants to work.

He begins his career in the minor leagues this spring and you can hear him walking around town as it gets closer to his departure, singing the song, “Take me out to the ballgame.”

Chad Williams is officially, professionally and permanently becoming one of the boys of summer.



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