From 1917 to 1952, tradition pitted Lewiston and Clarkston high school football teams against each other on Thanksgiving Day.Events began the day before with pep rallies, downtown serpentines and bonfires on opposing sides of the Snake River. The game was at 11:30 a.m. so that people could get home to turkey dinners.
Women and high school girls often wore corsages — a white mum with a red “C,” or a gold mum with a purple “L.” The annual Turkey Day Tussle was only canceled twice, once for snow and once because of a national flu epidemic.
The story of the tradition, and its demise, is told in “An Eighty Year Old Looks at Some Local Sports History in the Lewiston Area,” the latest book by Lewiston historian Dick Riggs.
Riggs has written about area history for the last 20 years. His 157-page, self-published book is a collection of sports articles, including baseball, football, basketball, softball, track and boxing. It includes more than 100 photos of players, coaches, teams, fields and buildings. Other articles include “The History of Lewiston’s Bengal Field,” “Levi McCormack, Great Nez Perce Athlete,” “Sid Otton; The Winningest Football Coach,” “Major Leaguers from Idaho,” “Athletic Hall of Famers from the Lewiston Area,” and many more. Some articles were previously published in the Nez Perce County Historical Society’s journal, “The Golden Age.”
Riggs is a retired teacher and school administrator who served as president of the Nez Perce County Historical Society from 1996 to 2013.
He will sign copies of his book: From 2 to 4 p.m. May 15 at the Nez Perce County Historical Society, 0306 Third St., Lewiston; and 2 to 4 p.m. May 31 at And Books Too, 918 Sixth St., Clarkston. The book costs $20.