Wild Turkey Shoot-out brings 51 teamsWORTHINGTON — As the winners of the 27th Annual Wild Turkey Shoot-out basketball tournament, each player on the winning team was handed a trophy.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — As the winners of the 27th Annual Wild Turkey Shoot-out basketball tournament, each player on the winning team was handed a trophy.
And those trophies were a little different this year.
For the first time, the designs on the trophies were created by the Trojan textile class, a subject taught by Gene Lais at Worthington High School.
“(Tournament director Nicholas Raymo) just gave us a little idea and we had some of the kids in the class who played basketball and were in the Turkey Day Shootout in years past when they were younger,” Lais said. “They just came up with some ideas.”
The idea was well received from the class.
“Some of the kids really took some pride and ownership in it and tried hard,” Lais said. “The kids were excited and put out a pretty nice effort and made it look nice. They ended up doing the first and second place design.”
Raymo was looking for ways to get more people involved.
“Basically we were looking at a way to get more community involvement as much as we can in any way,” he said. “We were having one of our first meetings of the year and we had looked at our medals we had been doing the last several years. We thought trophies would be a good turnaround and every kid loves having trophies to display to grandpa and grandma and everybody else.”
And players enjoyed the awards.
“We started looking through a book and we saw a clear column and I had never seen that before, so I asked the committee to come up with some ideas and they brought up the graphics department,” Raymo said. “Gene Lais was more than willing to have his class do it and it turned out phenomenal. We had a lot of compliments from parents especially of the uniqueness of it.
“The fourth-graders were all smiles. They held their trophies proud during the picture time after the games.”
The design features a turkey spinning a basketball.
“One of the neat things is we give the kids the idea and then it’s their job to use their creative juices to come up with something,” Lais said. “And they keep working it from there until they get something that’s nice.
Lais hopes to continue helping with the trophies in the future.
“It’s definitely something we’re hoping to do and something we’re interested in,” he said. “It’s a good project for the kids.”
And for Worthington, having that many teams in town brings a boost to the economy.
More than 50 teams brings numerous parents and fans.
“It is always good to bring events to our community such as the Wild Turkey Shoot-out,” said Darlene Macklin, the Executive Director of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce. “Not only does it bring players and coaches to town, it also brings family, friends and grandparents. In between games the visitors have time to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and maybe even buy gas for their cars before they travel back home. They may discover something about our fine community that they didn’t know. And, hopefully they will return in the near future and visit us again.”
Raymo noticed many visitors around town.
“We had a lot of people in town and I was driving around, there were a lot of out-of-state license plates in Worthington, supporting our local businesses,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, all coming together as a community.”
The tournament featured 51 teams from the surrounding area and utilized 10 different locations.
“The first couple hours of every tournament, it’s a real headache making sure everything is up and running,” Raymo said. “We start 10 gyms at one time and they all start at 8 in the morning. That’s the hectic part. Once it’s up and running, the volunteers took over and it ran smooth.”
There were more than 100 volunteers who helped make the tournament run smoothly.
“Without the volunteers, there would be no Wild Turkey Shoot-out,” he said. “Everybody does a little bit that goes a long ways.”
For Raymo, who finished first on a couple occasions at the Wild Turkey Shoot-out as a player, it’s a good opportunity to give back.
“All of us are there solely for the purpose of the kids, to give them an opportunity to play basketball,” he said. “It’s good to give back to something you grew up doing and you want to see the tradition carrying on.”
4th grade: 1. Brandon Valley, 2. Sioux Falls, 3. Jackson County Central.
5th grade: 1. WEM, 2. Okoboji, 3. Jasper Merchants/Pipestone Arrows
6th grade: 1. Sioux Center Christian, 2. Sioux Falls, 3. Brandon
7th grade: 1. Remsen St. Mary’s, 2. Central Lyon, 3. Jackson County Central
8th grade red: 1. Algona, 2. Spirit Lake, 3. W-Pack Maroon
8th grade black: 1. W-Pack White, 2. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 3. Jackson County Central
9th grade: 1. Unity Christian, 2. Worthington.
Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen can be reached at 376-7323.