TIFTON -- For the 39th consecutive year, more than 30 little league football teams are converging on Brodie and Eve Fields. Last night the Thanksgiving Football Bowl kicked off with the first-round action to continue Saturday. The championship games will be played Wednesday and Thursday.

"This is like the Super Bowl of rec league football," said Tift County Recreation Department Director Craig Sowell. The 33 teams represent the following counties and cities; Tift, Cook, Bainbridge, Cordele, Worth, Lee, Thomasville, Berrien, Brantley, Dooly, Milledgeville, Brooks, Charlton, Fitzgerald, Irwin and Camilla.

Play is in three age groups and weight classifications; 10/110 A, B, and C; 12/115 A and B; and 12/135 A and B.

In addition to the football, there will be a cheerleading competition Saturday at Brodie Field beginning at 2:30.

According to Sowell, this year's lineup is one of the largest in recent memory.

"This is the highest turnouts we've had in the last ten years," Sowell said. "Four years ago we had 32 teams play."

The event is jointly sponsored by Tift County Recreation Department and the Sertoma Club. Prior to 1977 the Tifton Jaycees co-sponsored the bowl.

"The Sertoma Club does an outstanding job," said Sowell, "they man the gates and concessions while we try to facilitate everything."

"We also appreciate the cooperation of the high school athletic department for allowing us to us their facilities.

The Thanksgiving Bowl is important to the recreation department and the civic club as it generates revenue that can be used later in the year.

"The Tift County Recreation Department and the Sertoma Club split the proceeds," Sowell said. "We take what we make and put it back into the program. We are able to purchase items like new speakers for the football field, jerseys and cheerleader uniforms."

Sowell estimates that the gate and concession proceeds from the Thanksgiving Bowl will generate gross receipts in the neighborhood of $15,000.00.

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