The Red Smith Banquet was organized in 1965 as a not for profit organization for the purpose of raising funds to help support the Appleton Foxes minor league baseball team and other local youth sports organizations. To this day all proceeds from the banquet continue to be distributed to local youth sports organizations, high school booster clubs, youth sports start-up programs, special project grants and team traveling grants.
The banquet was named after Richard “Red” Smith, a local sports hero who played college and professional football and coached in the professional ranks in baseball and football. A complete history of Richard “Red” Smith can be found at Red Smith Biography.
Each banquet includes the presentation of local awards and scholarships. The local awards recognize adults who volunteer their time and energy to help support athletic programs at area high schools and community youth sports organizations.
Five scholarships, sponsored by J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc and Secura Insurance Companies, are awarded annually to local high school students who have exceeded in both the classroom and in athletic competition. In addition to the five above mentioned scholarships one more is presented each year. The Danny Ornstein Memorial Scholarship, named after the longtime banquet chairman and original committee member. This scholarship is funded by the wonderful friends of Danny.
The two major awards presented during the evening are the Red Smith Award, given annually to a person that has excelled in sports from the State of Wisconsin, and the Scheels Sports “Nice Guy” Award, presented to a national sports figure. The banquet also features representatives of the Packers, Bucks, Badgers, Brewers, Timber Rattlers, Gamblers and many other guests including national sports celebrities. A list of former honorees and speakers can be found in the Past Honorees section of this website.
Scheels Sports also sponsors the Red Smith Committee’s annual special grant opportunity, known as the Scheels Sports Youth Sports Grant. This grant helps fund the development of new or expanded youth sports programs, new or improved youth sports facilities, or other special youth sports programs and events.
The Red Smith Banquet has been successful because of the enthusiasm and generosity of our loyal fans. Because of the many banquet sponsors and individuals who donate their services, time, expertise and financial help, the list of youth sports organizations receiving funding from the Red Smith Banquet continues to grow. We thank them for their to their support.