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2015 American Turnfest


54th National Festival Report

Attendees from LI Turners: Mary Jo Bursig, Theresa Buehler, James Goetz, Gail Goetz, Marion Oppelt, and Al Medina

Attendees from ATNY: Frank Wedl, Chris Medina, Ferdinand Beinert

Though this report is basically about the events participated in by our own LI Turners, I am also writing about our friends from ATNY as I am sure this is of interest to all of our friends.

Jim and Gail Goetz and I arrived in Aurora on July 22, 2015, just in time to check in and rush over to the Mooseheart facility to allow Jim to compete in the Senior Men’s track and field meet. Jim took fifth place AA. Frank Wedl took 2nd place AA. Gail and I had to hustle over to Aurora in order to enter the Cultural items.

The Opening Ceremonies took place in Aurora that evening and the Princess Pageant took place shortly thereafter. All of the young ladies were deserving of the honor!

The Cultural Competition was held at Aurora Turners – and there were many entries – though not as many as in previous years. The following Long Island members participated: Mary Jo Bursig, Matthew Bursig, Maiken Bursig, Bryn Goetz, Marion Oppelt and Inge Trampler. All had some 1st, 2nd, or 3rd places and/or honorable mentions. Ferdinand Beinert and Frank Wedl also had winning entries.

The other competitions were held at various venues – swimming and volleyball at the very modern and beautiful Vaughn Center, and track and field at the Mooseheart facility! All venues were outstanding.

On Thursday, July 23, 2015 Theresa Buehler and Mary Jo Bursig competed in Senior Co-ed Volleyball at the Vaughn Center. Frank Wedl also participated in this match. Their Co-ed team placed 3rd. Frank also competed in the men’s combined volleyball tournament – placing third place.

On Friday, July 24, 2015, the senior women competed in track. The activities were run efficiently with many volunteers – and Mary Jo Bursig helped to run the track and field as quickly as she could – but of course there are always a few snags! But overall things went well. There were some exciting moments with track injuries and Chris Medina of ATNY took a spill at the end of the 50 meter dash – coming away with severe bruises and a gash to her head. There were medics at the scene and fortunately Chris perked up and opted to continue the competition – true Turner spirit at work. Obviously, Al kept an eye on her! All went well, though Chris did say her ribs hurt a bit!

Mary Jo Bursig, Theresa Buehler, Gail Goetz and I competed in senior track and field on behalf of Long Island Turners. Mary Jo took first place AA in her senior division. Theresa Buehler took first place AA, Marion Oppelt took 2nd place AA and Gail Goetz took sixth place AA in our division. Chris Medina took 2nd place AA in her division – despite taking the fall!!

After the track meet Gail and I headed over to the Vaughn Center so we could play senior volleyball – we joined Concordia to fill out their second team with another volunteer from Lincoln. We had 5 players on our side. Our combined team took first place. Obviously, the team was entered by Concordia so they were entitled to the trophy. Although Concordia wanted to give us the 2nd place trophy we decided that we were a first place team and since we were getting first place ribbons – that would be good enough. Gail and I were in agreement that if the trophy had been handed to us we would have immediately presented it to Concordia! Gail and I were just happy to have been able to play – and even more so to win!

On Saturday, July 25, 2015 Mary Jo Bursig, Theresa Buehler and Frank Wedl competed in the swimming events. Theresa placed 2nd in free style, 3rd in both breast stroke and back stroke. Since Mary Jo was running the swim meet, she did not know how she placed in her swim – but we’ll find that out eventually. Frank Wedl placed 1st in back stroke, 1st in free style and 1st in breast stroke (beating the time of some younger Turners who had to swim at the same time).

In the evening we attended the Banquet and enjoyed some good food. Awards were presented and three special awards are worth mentioning! Ferdinand Beinert received the Phys Ed Hall of Fame Award. His achievements were read and much support was shown for our friend Ferdie by all of the Turners in attendance! The next notable award was for Mary Jo Bursig who received a pin for attending her 8th National Festival! Festivals only take place every four years – so this is an impressive achievement. The last – but VERY SPECIAL trophy was presented to the LI Turners who received the third place award for small societies! We had only five competitors so we were really thrilled to receive that award. It was something we did not expect and were totally surprised and happy to receive.

I would like to add a special thank you to Jim Goetz (who assisted with guiding the runners through the streets of Aurora) at the track event and also with the Cultural. I know Gail and I helped a little, but Jim was truly a great help to our Cultural Chairperson. Mary Jo Bursig should also be congratulated on a job well done. Many competitors mentioned to me how great she was and came by to thank her for her efforts in running a great swim meet. She was told it was the first time that a meet was over before the scorers could enter their final numbers! Zicke-Zacke Mary Jo!!

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24Last Update 4/24/2021

Photos from the 2019 Ft. Wayne Turnfest are now up in the Events section.


Photos from the Berlin Turnfest are under the Events tab.


Steuben Day 2016 photos also under Events tab.


There are new sections of the Mannheim Turnfest under the Events tab.

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