national turkey bowl league
The Blackhawks were victorious in this year’s National Turkey Bowl League. Photo: Arnold Breit

Last year, the Red Riders galloped to victory in the Turkey Bowl, a flag football game held every Thanksgiving.

But while they put up quite the fight, this time a new victor was crowned.

“Red Riders have won two years in a row, and the Blackhawks took the championship,” said event organizer Matt Ober. “There’s talent on both sides, so it was super, super close.”

It’s an interesting set-up, considering there are people with college ball and Canadian Football League experience—right alongside female participants and children.

“It’s just a killer thing, and every year the momentum and excitement increases,” Ober said. “I was surprised how many family members came out this year.”

Participants assembled at Creekside Sports Park, at 930 University Ave., around 8am on Nov. 23, with kick-off for the first game at 9am.

The so-called National Turkey Bowl League was established in 1991 and has a history that includes sunny spectacles and muddy melés.

Ober brought out the turducken, donated by Los Gatos Meats, and people began the feast around 10am.

“The weather was perfect—cold but perfect,” he said. “It was a nice sunny day.”

He estimates people along the sidelines and on the field ranged from 7 to 57 years old.

“It’s artificial turf at Creekside Sports Park,” Ober noted. “Nobody breaks their ankles…a couple people got rug burns.”

As a volunteer parks commissioner, Ober was happy to see local residents getting to enjoy the important community asset.

“We also had our parks patrol officer swing by,” he said. “He came out and oversaw it a little bit, which is neat.”

This is the 32nd year of the National Turkey Bowl League flag football game—it would have been 33 years, if it hadn’t been canceled during the pandemic.

“We are thankful of our supporters over the years: The Alarm Company, Purple Onion Cafe, Forbes Mill Steakhouse, Gardinos, Los Gatos Meats, Double D’s Sports Grille, Don Knight with Coldwell Banker, F 45 fitness,” Ober added.

The winner of the two semi-final games faced off in the final, where the Blackhawks edged out the Red Riders 3-2.

Previous articleTop talent Aydon Stefanopoulos adds CIF State Cross Country Championship to his list of accomplishments
Next articleLocal Scene: Nightly closures scheduled on Highway 9
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here