The Red Smith Banquet is one of the largest sports award banquets in the Midwest, with over 1,400 people attending. Each year sports enthusiasts gather early inside the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, in downtown, Appleton, Wisconsin, for a great evening of talking sports with friends, enjoying a hearty meal and are entertained by sports hall of famers, future hall of famers, current players, nationally known sports figures and local sports stars.
The Red Smith Committee has been honored to host 55 hall of fame athletes and sports announcers, representing six major sports (23 baseball, 16 football, 9 basketball, 1 wrestling, 3 motorsports, 3 hockey) along with a 2 time U.S. Open Golf Champion and Indy 500 Champions. Other award recipients and speakers have been Heisman Trophy winners, baseball commissioners, professional sports team owners, major network T.V. and radio announcers, renowned sports authors, writers and columnists, and various other sports personalities. The night also features presentations from, team Presidents, General Managers and Athletic Directors from in-state college and professional teams.
Last year the Green Bay Packers All-time leading rusher, Ahman Green, received the Red Smith Award. Cy Young award Winner, John Smoltz, won the Scheel’s Sports “Nice Guy” Award.And CBS Sports reporter, Lesley Visser was the main speaker.
All proceeds from the banquet go to youth sports organizations throughout Northeastern Wisconsin. M&I Bank along with J. J. Keller Foundation present a total of 5 scholarships, with one scholarship going to a student athlete from each of Appleton’s five high schools. In addition to the naming rights of the “Nice Guy” Award, Scheels Sports will sponsor the Red Smith Committee’s annual special grant(s). These grant(s) help 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 grant(s) will be renamed the Scheels Sports Youth Sports Grant(s).