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A Turkey Bowl Tradition - Kirkwood-Webster Football

By Paul Langhorst on 11/24/2015

All across America Thanksgiving is celebrated with turkeys, food and footballs.  Just run a Google search of “turkey bowl” and you will find numerous entries from coast to coast. High schools and youth leagues use Thanksgiving and the long weekend to host “turkey bowl” rivalry games which have become community traditions.  USA Today’s online section on high school sports has a great piece detailing some of the biggest Turkey Bowl games from around the country, with some events now boasting over 100 games.Kirkwood Webster Turkey Bowl

Nowhere is this tradition more evident than in the hometown of Engage Sports, where the Kirkwood Pioneers and Webster Groves Statesmen have been kicking off the Turkey Bowl event now for over 100 years.  That’s right, 100 years of high school football competition, with over 80 of those games played on Thanksgiving Day.   

Like two kids fighting over the turkey wishbone, the Turkey Bowl title has gone back and forth with the winner wheeling home the coveted Frisco Bell. Both Kirkwood and Webster Groves have a rich railroad history, so it is fitting that the Turkey Bowl traveling trophy is the bell from an old Frisco locomotive.  

The Kirkwood-Webster Turkey Bowl has become such a community event that it is now covered by local radio station KTRS and makes headline news on the St. Louis metro TV stations and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Not to be outdone by our local coverage, the New York Times even covered the event in a 2007 online article.

In some years, due to appearances in state playoffs, the game is played by the JV squads.  But, it really doesn’t matter to the fans in the stands. They are there for the tradition, the tailgating, the chili and the drumsticks.  Everyone is a winner at the Turkey Bowl! 

This is what youth sports should be about…Community…Comradery…Competition…and in this case Cranberries!

Go Pioneers!

Go Statesmen!

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Paul Langhorst

As a former softball coach and veteran business leader, Paul Langhorst is on a mission to help sports associations and leagues improve their operations and experience for players, parents, fans and their volunteer leaders.

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