MEDINA, OH — It’s a backyard football game like no other; a group of 40 guys woke up very early this Thanksgiving morning to throw the pigskin around.
The game serves as more than a fun activity. It’s also a fundraiser for a Medina charity.
This year was the 24th annual Meadows Turkey Bowl in Medina. Every Thanksgiving Day, Mike Meadows and his gridiron buddies turn his backyard into two mini football fields complete with all the trimmings: a huge inflatable turkey, referees and even a sideline announcer.
This year, mother nature did not cooperate with the contestants. Last year was beautiful, clear and sunny.
“It’s pretty cold out here and it’s snowing quite a lot,” said Katie Delozier, of Sharon Township.
“This is perfect. This is exactly the way it should be on Thanksgiving Day in Northeastern Ohio. The four F’s: food, football, family and fun,” said Dave Armstrong, a sponsor.
Plumber Bill Biegle raised the most money for the St. Vincent de Paul charity this year.
“I raised approximately $24,000 and the way I did it, I have a plumbing business here in town. I have a lot of great customers, a lot of friends and a lot of family that were more than happy to give to a good cause,” said Biegle.
“There are people everyday that are suffering and I never felt pain or suffering, so I was concerned over hunger or cold. It’s easy for me to come out here and raise the funds with the rest of the guys, it’s a blast,” said Jim MacLellan of Brunswick.
Last year, these guys raised more than $125,000 for the St. Vincent de Paul society. This year, they beat their goal.
“We raised $158,000. To put that in perspective, eight years ago, we raised $800. We couldn’t believe that we were going to raise that much and this year, $158,000,” said Mike Meadows.
This year’s Turkey Bowl also helped to raise money to help out an Iraqi war veteran in need.
“One of our players played for him and raised about $6,000 for him, so occasionally, we’ll have a face and this year we did. We have a hero and we’re serving him,” said Meadows.