The Rios family’s San Antonio Glowworms steadfast devotion to men’s fastpitch softball

Written by Bob on February 6th, 2019

The San Antonio Glowworms men’s fast pitch team was started, managed and coached by Heldebrand “Chilolo” Rios, Jr. in 1957. Courtesy Photo By Rios family

Rios family and their San Antonio Glowworm tournament join forces with the International Softball Congress by hosting a world tournament qualifier

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – If any team in America, Canada, or for that matter the world, can beat these numbers, speak up.

For 118 years combined, the Rios family of San Antonio has been firmly entrenched in the men’s fastpitch game. Sixty-two of those years as a team of Rios’ dads, sons, uncles, cousins, grandkids, and 56 years hosting a Rios family run tournament.

It all began with the patriarch of the family, Heldebrand “Chilolo” Rios, Jr., who after an injury ended his playing career in 1957, started the San Antonio Glowworms with its roster filled with Rios’ names. He steadfastly managed and coached the ball club until his death in 1998.

Though he’s gone, the Rios family resolutely continues his devotion and love for the game.

“My grandfather loved this sport,” said grandson David Rios. “It is an honor to carry on his tradition. I am proud to say that there has been a Rios playing men’s fastpitch since the 1930s, from my grandfather to my father and uncles to the grandchildren. We are blessed to carry on his legacy and keep his memory alive.”

Heldebrand Chilolo Rios is so revered in Texas that the Texas State Senate issued a proclamation in his honor after his death. It lists Rios’ many outstanding contributions to the community and the sport, including starting the 4th of July Southwest Men’s Fastpitch Tournament that drew teams from several surrounding states and throughout Texas.

Known as the Godfather of men’s fastpitch in San Antonio, he is “remembered for his commitment and fervor for men’s fastpitch softball and is credited for keeping the sport alive in San Antonio…,” the proclamation reads.

The Glowworms remain firmly committed to San Antonio fastpitch, along with the San Antonio Titans and Compadres as the three remaining teams in the city. Despite a drop in numbers, David Rios says the family and staunch leaders such as Jody Armijo, Dave Parker, John Limon and the Tovar family “all do their part to support and help keep this great game alive.”

In that regard, the Rios family has taken on a huge step this season by hosting an official International Softball Congress World Tournament qualifier, June 29-30. (See list of additional qualifiers.)

The tournament, directed by Ruben Rios, coincides with the Rios family’s annual Glowworm tournament and will send one team to the world tournament in Denmark, Wis., Aug. 10-17.

The 2019 ISC World Tournament will be held in Denmark, Wis., Aug. 10-17.

“It feels good about being a part of the ISC,” said David Rios. “Our tournament attracts big-time players from all over the world and it was time to get the recognition and respect that our tournament and Texas players, sponsors, supporters, and my Rios family – the San Antonio Glowworms – deserve for supporting our wonderful game!”

***See accompanying tournament information.***

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