Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Turkey Bowl

Thanksgiving has rolled around once more and like most folks, we are looking forward to pigging out and watching football. My wife and I have been reminiscing about our Thanksgiving Day memories and she fondly remembers The Turkey Bowl games. Everyone who lived here in the 1960s or ’70s remembers that the BIG game, the Turkey Bowl, was played at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day from 1962-1974. For many years, the Riverview Rams and their arch-rivals, the Sarasota Sailors, both called Ihrig Field home (although two games were played at the Ram Bowl). Despite the late-morning kickoffs, the annual “Turkey Bowl” contests drew crowds as large as 10,000 and served as an epicenter of Sarasota society. 

My wife Liz was a big part of those games – she was in the Sailor marching band as a flutist and a majorette at Sarasota High School from 1967 – to 1970. She remembers that her mom was very annoyed that turkey dinner cooking was interrupted by football but in reality, she was a big fan too. And Liz looked forward to coming home to her mom’s huge turkey dinner…hopefully after a big win by SHS! 

In those days, a general admission ticket to the Turkey Bowl game was $1.25 and Sarasota outscored Riverview by a total of 266-142 in the Thanksgiving Day games and won eight of the 13 games, including seven of the first nine. Unfortunately, this game is no longer played on Thanksgiving Day. The Turkey Bowl tradition wasn’t abandoned by either side. It was ended when the Florida High School Activities Association changed its playoff structure and put a halt to all regular-season games played on Thanksgiving across the state. 

To this day, Liz loves football and we regularly go to watch the Tampa Bay Bucs as well as the SHS vs Riverview games. But the Sarasota-Riverview games are just not the same as it was when it was the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day!

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving…and if you know of someone looking to spend next Thanksgiving in a new home in the Sarasota area, I am never too busy for your referrals!