Every year in Appleton there is an event that seems like it's too big for the likes of a city of 72,000. That is the Red Smith Banquet. It's a fundraiser for youth sports in the Fox Cities. Basically, a bunch of memorabilia is auctioned off, people pay a good chunk of money for a decent dinner and a couple of good speeches. This year's edition just happened, and had such luminaries as former Purdue coach Gene Keady and Brewers GM Doug Melvin. The Red Smith award went to Wisconsin women's hockey coach and member of the 1980 US hockey team that won the gold, Mark Johnson. The Nice Guy award went to Doug Melvin.
I got to go in 1998. My sister managed to get me a ticket, so I got to go. Somewhere in my archives, I have the program, autographed by two of the speakers there; former 49ers coach/genius Bill Walsh, and one of the all-time great Celtics, Bob Cousy. I believe Walsh may have won the Red Smith award, and I think Sal Bando won the Nice Guy award.
I think this is a great event, and it stuns me every year when the speakers are announced. They get some great people at these banquets, despite it being in January and in a cold city like Appleton.