On behalf of Decatur Public Schools and our Board of Education, it is a privilege to welcome you to the 50th Annual Turkey Tournament, presented by Caterpillar. For five decades, Decatur has played host to one of Illinois’ finest Thanksgiving boys’ basketball tournaments, demonstrating the best qualities of the sport: spirited competition, achievement, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and most importantly, FUN!
At this year’s 50th anniversary tournament, we are honored to recognize our Grand Marshals, Decatur entrepreneurs Gary Birschbach and Dale Colee, as well as Decatur heroes Tom McNamara, longtime sports reporter with the Decatur Tribune; Howard G. Buffett; and former Board of Education member and past president Brian Hodges. We will also recognize former Decatur coaches who participated in previous Turkey Tournaments and the Tournament’s Founders and Rescuers.
Not only is this the 50th year for the Turkey Tournament, it also returns to where the tournament all started at Stephen Decatur. The participating teams this year are Decatur Eisenhower, Decatur MacArthur, Bolingbrook, Dunlap, Harvey-Thornton, Mt. Zion, Peoria, and Springfield Southeast. These elite high school basketball programs are sure to excite and entertain the more than 9,000 fans expected to be in attendance at the weeklong event.
The investment and enthusiasm from each of our corporate sponsors makes this 50th Annual Turkey Tournament truly a joint partnership between our community and a committed public school district. We thank you for your ongoing support. We also want to acknowledge the behind-the-scenes workers who strive to keep the Turkey Tournament going year after year. The continued growth and success of this tournament can only be accomplished with your ongoing commitment, and we look forward to partnering for another 50 years.
We hope the 50th Annual Turkey Tournament provides basketball players and families with a fun and memorable Thanksgiving week. We encourage everyone to take in the excitement these next few days and embrace the showcase of talent as well as the sportsmanship of these young athletes. Good luck to all the teams!
Dr. Paul Fregeau,
Superintendent of Schools