Oakford--The Town of Sports
Oakford girls AAU State Champions 1946-47-48. Standing, left to right, Agnes Vogt, Esther Anderson, Shirley Brauer, Coach Boeker, Ann Vogt, Carla Jean Hollis and Mardell Boeker. Seated, Emma Jean Boeker and Avis Brauer.
As far back as our research takes us, we find the early settlers of the Watkins, Thomas and Duff families, and many others, had inherited the love of competition in sports. This quality has been passed on down through the years.
At one time it was horse racing. Later, it was boxing in the different recreation centers around town, such as livery stables or the roller rink in the Star Theatre.
Later it was baseball. This sport, the boys of Oakford excelled in. For many years great teams were fielded at different diamonds around the outskirts of town. The first team was known as the Oakford Reindeer's. Later, Red's, Merchants and Grays. For many years a salaried team was fielded which gained Oakford much recognition.
Later in years, beginning in the early 1930's, the sport of basketball was introduced to the village. The Oakford Grade School developed many good Junior High teams. In fact, they were represented at the State grade school tournament seven different times.
During these years, some of the country schools didn't have enough boys to make a good team and, of course, the girls were as competitive as the boys, and won positions on the teams. Lynn School, west of Oakford, was known for this. All they had was a sand diamond, but they learned the fundamentals and had the desire to win.
In the year 1946, these girls formed a team and entered the Illinois A.A.U. Basketball tournament at Peoria, Illinois. Here they displayed their sand lot experiences and great physical fitness and outplayed all the teams, becoming the new Illinois state champions. They held this title for three years. After three marriages, the team was dissolved.
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