The tournament, which is put on by Lincoln Junior High School,
attracts basketball teams from all over the state. The series of
games began Saturday morning and wrapped up on Sunday evening. The
competition included both boys' and girls' teams in age groups from
third grade through eighth grade.
The Trojan Tournament was the
inspiration of the late John Welsh when he was a member of the
District 27 school board. After he retired from the board, the
junior high school administration took over the event and has kept
it going and growing since then.
The two-day event features nearly 200 basketball games that go on
at nearly every school in Lincoln. On Saturday, games were played at
Lincoln College, Carroll Catholic, Central School, Lincoln Junior
High, Lincoln Community High School, Washington-Monroe and West
The concept behind the tournament was to provide more
opportunities for sports for young people and at the same time to
benefit the local schools. Funds raised from concessions sold during
the tournament support parent-teacher organizations at the District
27 schools and the band's booster club at the high school.
In addition to doing something good for the students and the
local schools, the tournament is a boost to the local economy at a
slow time of year. With Christmas in the past and summer tourism
still in the future, the winter months of January, February and
March can be a bit depressing for area businesses, but the February
tournament gives the local economy a little jolt right when it is
Each competing team consists of approximately 10 members. When
they come to town, many teams arrive with parents, grandparents,
coaches and fans. These people travel to Lincoln to spend the night,
eat in our restaurants and shop in our local stores.
The bracket-style tournament is scheduled in such a manner that
teams play once or maybe twice in one day, and most play on both
Saturday and Sunday. With the playing schedule, many families arrive
in Lincoln on Friday night and stay over through Sunday, filling
local motels two nights.
On Sunday, Amy at the front desk of the Hampton Inn said that all
64 of their rooms had been occupied by tournament-goers on Saturday
night. She said the Hampton does offer a special rate for the
At the Holiday Inn Express, Missy said that of their 69 rooms, 68
had been booked on Saturday night, something she definitely
attributed to the tournament. Missy also said the Holiday Inn offers
discount pricing to attract tournament-goers to their establishment.
Down the street just a little way, the Super 8 also enjoyed a
good night, with over 75 percent of their rooms booked.
Local eateries also benefited from the weekend.
At noontime on Saturday, families with kids in the games rushed
to fast-food joints around town. The goal was quick, kid-friendly
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At McDonald's on Lincoln Parkway, Tessa said that it had been
pretty busy with dine-in and drive-thru business. She said the
restaurant does offer free lunch to one coach and the bus driver
when the team arrives on a bus.
At Culver's on the west end of town, owner and manager Elaine Awe
said it had been a very good day on Saturday. She told LDN, "The
tournament is always good for us."
Awe said the restaurant didn't offer any out of the usual
specials for the tournament. They run daily specials regularly, and
diners take good advantage of those.
Awe also noted that this year, Culver's has been sending their
old-fashioned custard to the junior high as a fundraiser for the
school, and that effort is going well also.
And, it wasn't all about fast food. Brett Borst of Bonanza said
his restaurant saw an increase in both lunchtime and dinner guests
on Saturday, and he expected to see the same on Sunday.
He said the restaurant doesn't run any specials; they just
continue to serve their "exceptionally good food" and the diners
come. He also commented: "It is really nice, though. Especially at
the end of February when there's snow on the ground, it is really a
blessing to have that extra business."
Retail businesses also saw an influx of visitors on Saturday,
including some that might come as a surprise.
A person speaking for Kroger said on Saturday afternoon that the
store saw several new faces: "We know most of our regular customers,
and these folks were not our regulars. They were also shopping for
convenient foods, and we heard some of them talking about what they
could take to their room, so we knew they were out-of-town guests."
The purchases made at Kroger included fresh fruits, pre-made items
from the deli, snack foods, chips and soft drinks.
Recently, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel of the Lincoln City Council
spoke about the sporting activities in Lincoln. In her comments she
named the Lincoln Futbol Club and the Trojan Tournament, saying she
was for anything that brought people to Lincoln, and sports is
definitely something that will do that.
In the end, the Trojan Tournament is a win-win for almost
everyone in the community. The students involved in the program are
more physically fit and active. They learn good sportsmanship and
how to interact with people from other places. The school
organizations benefit from the added opportunities to have
fundraisers, and local businesses benefit with the influx of traffic