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Oconomowoc Turkey Bowl tackle football tradition brings friends together for nearly 30 years

Posted: 6:24 PM, Nov 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-23 19:24:20-05

OCONOMOWOC, WI - What started as a high school pickup game with permanent teams and bitter rivals 28 years ago has evolved into a group of middle-aged men trying not to get hurt while keeping a longstanding tradition alive. 

“It started when we were back in high school, it just started as a pickup game,” Robb Christenson said.

Christenson and his friends started playing ball together in Oconomowoc back in 1990, and many of them are still playing together each November despite marriage, kids, and even moving out of state.

“I look forward to this every year. I mean, this is a chance for me [to] get together with some of my best friends and hang out and hope that the body holds up,” Christensen said.  

Although Christenson said his body isn't what it used to be, Gary Schultz —a founding member who’s never missed a single post-Thanksgiving day game said he’s fared well throughout the years. 

“I guess I’ve been blessed with not getting injured, overly injured. I’m blessed with a robust frame that kind of protects me," Shultz laughed. 

And if you ask the guys why they’ve been playing together for decades their answer is quite simple. 

“It’s the friendship, I don’t know how many people can say they have something that goes 28 years,” Christenson said.  

Nothing, aside from the birth of his son, has stopped Christenson from making the 10-hour trek from Columbus, Ohio to Oconomowoc each year and he said he wouldn’t have it any other way.