By BRIAN GRAVES
It will be an all-star evening when some of the greatest supporters of athletic events in the area come together to give a good ribbing to one of their own.
The Classic 150 Roast/Toast of Champions, an annual fundraising event for the Classic 150, has announced John “Thunder” Thornton as its guest of honor for this year’s event.
The event recognizes people who have been an advocate, a champion and therefore had a tremendous impact on sports in the community. The event will take place at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
“Sports have played an important part in my live and I am especially pleased to be the roastee for the Classic 150 – an organization that has done so much to increase the awareness of Chattanooga through sports,” said Thornton. “I can only hope that the roasters will go easy on me and not feel like they need to tell everything they know about me.”
Previous honorees for the event include former UTC Chancellor Fred and Ruth Obear; the late Dr. Basketball, Gary Haskew; UTC’s Russ Huesman; and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. The event features several speakers who “roast” the honoree. This year’s event will include the following speakers:
•Bill Battle, former UT football coach
•Bill Kilbride, businessman
•Phil Fulmer, UT Athletic Director
•Allan Jones, businessman
•Honk Spelman, businessman
Funds raised at the Roast will be used to assist the Classic 150 in bringing sporting events to the community that bring either regional or national recognition to Chattanooga. These sporting events provide economic development opportunities to the community. The Classic 150 is a membership organization and is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
“I can think of no more appropriate community leader to honor at this event than Thunder Thornton,” said Hal North, Roast/Toast Committee chairman.
For more than 20 years, the Classic 150 has invested over $2 million in sporting events such as bringing the PGA Tour to Chattanooga, hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and hosting the NCAA Women’s Regional Basketball Tournament, among others. These events have generated an estimated $100 million in economic benefit to the region.
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