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1947 Vfw National Marbles Tournament

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Two years ago after a visit to Boys Town, NE, I started researching the 1947 VFW National Marbles Tournament. Boys Town was the host for the first national tournament held by the VFW for marble players. There were thirty-five participants in that first VFW tournament.

Both Boys Town and the VFW have been helpful, providing clippings and other interesting articles. I am now trying to find additional articles/memorabilia about the various state and local tournaments held around the country. If anyone has any articles they would be willing to share copies of, please let me know. Thanks, Scott

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Only 1947? Only VFW?

I have a number of articles snagged from online newspaper archives. Different tourneys, different years. Including for example one mentioning a lack of funding for a state VFW tourney in AZ in 1950, which may or may not have been resolved.

I have a number from 1947. Not all I could have gotten probably, and I don't know how interesting they are. When I was searching, I was mostly just trying to get the names of all the national champs. But I saved a few extras here and there for more background.

The 1947 champ from Texas was a "modest boy" named Saturnino Garcia. The Texas VFW gave him cowboy boots, a silk shirt and a sombrero to wear to Boys Town.

Here's a pic of him. Hmmmm ... doesn't look like a sombrero. lol.

p.s., Check out that motor bike Tilton Holt won in 1950. (link)

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I never knew the VFW had a National Marbles tournament. The only "National" Marbles Tournament is held in New Jersey. It began in 1922 and is the longest childhood sport still continued. I have a copy of all past National Champions with statistics from '22-00'ish somewhere: i'll have to track that down. Here's a photo of myself, the 1999 National Champion and Charles Mott the 1942 National Champion taken in WIldwood NJ 2010.


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Scott, do you know how long the VFW tournament went on? The last year I have the national results for is 1961.

I saw an announcement saying that the national was going to be in Tennessee in 1962, but then I couldn't find any follow-ups anywhere saying that it actually happened.

It never occurred to me to ask the VFW itself, until I saw your post. Doh.

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Thanks for everyone's help. Researching the 1947 tournament has been lots of fun, combining history with some geneology trying locate the players. today, they would be between 75 and 80 year's old. So far I have been fortunate enough to locate one living participant.

Mike's picture with Father Flanigan and Mickey Rooney is a favorite at Boys town. Father Flannigan was a support of marble playing as a healthy cativity for the boys. There are lots of articles in the Omaha and Boys Town newspapers about marble playing going back to the beginning of Boys town.

Steph - Saturino Garcia - I have a picture of him taken of him at Boys Town. In that picture, he is wearing the same cowboy hat in the picture you found. I also think I found his obituary form 2008 in a small town in OH. It is the right age and that Saturino Garcia was born in TX.I am photoly challenged and wasn't able to upload the photo.

Still searching for other particpants. Thirty-five boys age 9 - 14 played in that first tournament. The VFW marble tournaments ended in the early 60s.

The winner of the 1947 Tournament won two trophies, a Schwin Whizzer motorbike, a Parker pen and pencil set, and a first baseman's mitt.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A little follow up - The one particpant I was able to locate and visit with was Ray Eugene Warren the 1947 VFW Champion. I was fortunate enough that he and his wife Pat allowed me into their home last fall to hear his stories of the tournament, many of which I could verify from other sources like the Boys Town Times and the Rayon Times, a company magazine for the Dupont Chemical plant where his father worked. His son emailed me today. Ray passed away early this morning.

He is now playing marbles in heaven!

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