You're Invited

Join us for the RTI's 60th Anniversary Celebration!
Buy the Book#TurkeyBowl

Dear Readers,

In 1960, on the front lawn of an elementary school in North East Dallas, a tradition was born. A group of seventh-grade boys captured the free time before Thanksgiving dinner to engage in a game of touch football. It was a good day to play. So good, in fact, that the game would resume each year at the same time in the same place.

The last game was held on November 26, 2009, marking 50 years of the Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational. You are invited to celebrate the RTI’s 60-year mark with us on Thanksgiving 2019 as we release our book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story.

Thank you!
Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro

On Sale Now!

THE 50-YEAR HISTORY of the RTI is chronicled in the 60th anniversary book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational, that documents the days gone by through photos, papers, videos, and links. The result is an engaging 400-page book that provides readers with a first-hand glimpse into a captivating era.

 

This is a story, all right. These guys belong in one of those little tents you see today on the sidelines of an NFL game — the place you go if they think maybe you have a concussion.

But concussed, or merely cussed, these dubious warriors assembled for more than a half century to play touch football each Thanksgiving Day morning on the front lawn of their old elementary school in White Rock.

They arrived on walkers and in iron lungs, any conveyance that would take them to game day at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary near Lockwood. Grandchildren would drop them off and perhaps stay behind to serve as stretcher-bearers following the conflict. Wives and girlfriends turned their backs on this frightful enterprise decades ago.

At the end of each conflict these guys assembled for team photos and perhaps to show the “Cougar Claw”, a gnarled hand raised high in defiance. No. Wait. That’s just arthritis kicking in.

JOHN ANDERS

Retired Dallas Morning News columnist, Bryan Adams Cougar ‘64 (defanged and de-clawed)

About the Authors

BRENT PARROTT is a writer, former technology executive and teacher, and currently serves as Board Chairman for the charter schools of Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy. With his life-long friend, Bryan Renfro, he is co-author of The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, a memoir about a group of friends who kept an annual touch football game going for 50 straight years.

He is also the author of two new books scheduled for publication in 2020, Jackpot: The Summer of ’69 and What Would You Do? What Would You Not Do? Brent and his wife Robyn (that’s right, two bird names) spend as much time as possible with their daughter Brynn, son-in-law Jacob, and two amazing grandsons. He has always lived, worked, and played in Dallas, Texas.

BRYAN RENFRO graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at Arlington and was drafted into the Army the following year during the Viet Nam war. He was the editor and sports writer for Sound Off, the base’s newspaper in Fort Meade, Maryland. His work life followed an untraditional path for the times as he experienced a mix of endeavors through the years, including the furniture importing business.

For five decades, he served as the organizer and “Commissioner” of an annual Thanksgiving touch football game in Dallas, Texas. Known locally as the Turkey Bowl, Bryan chronicled his experiences in the book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, with co-author Brent Parrott. The 400-page memoir was published for the game’s 60th anniversary in 2019. Today, Bryan lives in Dallas with his wife LaDonna and enjoys bible study, photography, his woodshop, and nurturing long-time friendships.

Giving Back

Giving Back

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation

 

THIS IS A STORY about 22 school kids and their 50-year Thanksgiving Day touch football game. Today, Alzheimer’s has touched most of the 22; we all have personal stories of the tragic and sad experiences caused by this devastating disease.

The RTI Story authors are pleased to donate a portion of all book proceeds to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, a leading Alzheimer’s source of funding for Alzheimer’s research, support and education.

Lori's Book Loft

“This book is well written, full of interesting cultural details and it’s genuine. I love many things about this book but most of all I love that this book takes me back in time and makes me recall all the fun that begins in youth.”

Steven Crump

“Great book! I really identified with these guys… [they] had something truly unique and special. Recommended for sports fans or non-sports fans… this really could be material for a movie!”
—Amazon customer review

White Rock Lake Weekly

“Girls and women tend to be sentimental and into traditions; Boys and men, not so much. But here’s the story of 22 guys who are sentimental about a tradition they initiated 60 years ago. In fact, Bryan Renfro and Brent Parrott are proud, sentimental, and passionate enough to write a book about it, and it’s a creative, humorous, and often poignant read.”
—Review by Shari Goldstein Stern

R. Cantrell

“The book is not just about a 50 year tradition of playing touch football on Thanksgiving morning. It’s much more… [it’s] about life-long friendships and growing up in the 1960s.”
—Amazon customer review

Eddie Stallings

“Got your Magnum Opus yesterday. Outstanding! Nancy hadn’t seen any of the earlier stuff online and was blown away. Hope you’ve locked up the screenplay rights ’cause I’ve got a call in to Bradly Cooper to play me.”

Scott Harrington

“The book Brent and Bryan produced is really impressive. The amount of work that went into the “RTI Through the Years” video and all that surrounds it is mind-boggling. Fantastic job!!”

Chip Chase

“I’m loving the book and the website and videos are great, too. I can’t imagine how much time was involved in putting The RTI Story together but Brent, Bryan, and all the others have done an amazing amount of work. Congratulations on a job well done!”

Bruce Stensrud

“I love the book. It is a great accomplishment and I appreciate the huge effort and sacrifice of your time to put this together. I hope it is a huge success for you and you guys can sell the movie rights to Ron Howard.”

Neilia West

“Brent and Bryan have captured the era of growing up in the 50s and 60s with sensitivity and humor. It’s interesting—and sometimes surprising—to realize that almost all kids make it through high school to become productive, contributing members of their communities and the world in general. I recommend this fun coming-of-age read to anyone.”

Freddie Lambert

“This book is pretty good, but it did not reveal an important fact, Bryan Renfro is not the fake Freddie Lambert, I’m the fake Bryan Renfro.”

Available Editions

You can read The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story in three formats. Choose one or try all three! Readers who purchase the paperback edition will enjoy our free supplemental Reading Guide.

Print Edition

Our print-on-demand book with 180 images is available through Amazon and ships quickly! Free Reading Guide PDF.

Price: $18.99
6x9 Paperback: 400 pages
(October 2019)

PDF Edition

This interactive version for desktop, tables and smartphones includes hundreds of reference links.

Price: $9.99
PDF Download: 414 pages
(October 2019)

Kindle Edition

For e-reader fans, our book is available for Kindle devices. Take The RTI Story with you wherever you go!

Price: $9.99
Kindle: 414 pages
(October 2019)

RTI Videos

Watch more videos about the RTI and exclusive shorts from The Fabulous RIYO Company. Like and share on our YouTube Channel!

Meet the Players

An invitation to join a robust touch football pickup game was a high honor in the 1960s for boys growing up in Dallas.

Reference Links

In e-versions of The RTI Story, we include embedded reference links that will take you to web pages and videos that provide you with more information. You can access them here, too.

Glossary

The Glossary contains words and terminology you may not be familiar with; some we have created, some we redefined.