NeveHarms In January of 1994, Steve Kouri led a small group of civic minded citizens in seeking to persuade the IHSA to move its Boys State Basketball Finals to Peoria after it had been held in Champaign for 77 years. Few thought the goal possible, but Steve kept the focus sharp in months of quiet discussion with IHSA officials.
On May 5, 1995, the lHSA shocked folks across the state when Peoria won out over competing bids by Champaign and Bloomington.
In the years that followed, competition became fierce, but through the work of Kouri and his group of dedicated people, Peoria succeeded in putting on a tournament the likes of which became the model for states across this nation. The promise of a "March Madness Experience" was not only kept, but was improved upon year after year. No high school association has ever hosted such an event.
Kouri co-chaired the host committee for the next ten years and his group now coordinates more than 2,000 volunteers and annually raises more than $200,000 in corporate support.
Even after stepping aside and handing the reins to Cat VP Don Weston, Judge Kouri actively participates as a volunteer during the tourney, doing whatever is necessary to insure success. 2009 marks the 14th IHSA Boys Basketball Finals to be held at Peoria's Civic Center.
In addition, Steve has served on the Peoria City Council and his other activities include Bradley Chiefs Club, Easter Seals, Holy Family Parish Council, Visiting Nurses Association, Peoria Notre Dame and 0SF Community Advisory Board.
In January of 1994, Steve Kouri led a small group of civic minded citizens in seeking to persuade the IHSA to move its Boys State Basketball Finals to Peoria after it had been held in Champaign for 77 years. Few thought the goal possible, but Steve kept the focus sharp in months of quiet discussion with IHSA officials.
|Jerry & Elaine Reibling|
For four decades Jerry and Elaine have volunteered their time and effort to benefit the runners competing in events within the Tri-County. Just prior to Jerry’s induction into the Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame in 2015, the race’s co-founder, Steve Shostrom said, “Jerry and Elaine are treasures in the running community. They have made substantial, lasting contributions to the Steamboat Classic and the Illinois Valley Striders over the years. They have worked tirelessly at countless local races through heat, rain, ice, snow and wind to get quick, accurate results for runners of all ages and abilities." Jerry was involved with the Steamboat Classic for 35 years and Elaine has been a part of the Race for the Cure for about 30 years. Married over 50 years, the Rieblings helped pioneer the transformation from hand timing to computerized timing for the major running events in the Tri-County area. In addition to the Steamboat Classic and Race for the Cure, they have served at the following events over their decades of service: the IHSA State Cross Country Meet; Illinois Valley Striders events; countless high school invitationals including the Richard Spring Memorial Invitational (Peoria Notre Dame) and the Peoria High Invitational at Detweiler Park; and Bradley University and the University of Illinois cross country meets and invitationals. Jerry has also raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by participating in the Memphis to Peoria Run and running the satellite event from Canton to Peoria. The dedication and passion of Jerry and Elaine for these events has enabled thousands of others to experience achievement and enjoyment while competing in running events.