By Heather Ruenz

Staff Writer

A special reunion will take place this week when former Southern Lakes Conference athletes who attended high school 1955 to 1959 meet up in Elkhorn.

The idea for a gathering developed a few years ago, according to Richard Vanscotter, who now lives in Colorado but graduated from Elkhorn Area High School.

“Several of us were in contact for the Elkhorn Hall of Fame so that’s how the reunion idea started. Some of us were in touch with people from other schools at the time, too, so thought, ‘Let’s get together once a year.’ That was five years ago and we didn’t have it last year because of the pandemic,” Vanscotter said.

He said the annual reunion is held in Elkhorn and the last time they gathered, about 15 or so showed up from Delavan, East Troy, Elkhorn and Whitewater.

“We enjoy it and we’re hoping to expand it a little by getting the word out throughout the Southern Lakes Conference area,” he said.

The SLC was different in the late ‘50s, Vanscotter said.

“There were a lot fewer sports then and this was before women participated, so that limited how many sports there were. It was just the basics – football, baseball, basketball and track and field. We didn’t have wrestling, soccer or swimming then and there wasn’t cross country then, either,” he said.

Vanscotter said some schools had tennis but it wasn’t really considered a sport at the time.

“And some schools had golf but we didn’t (in Elkhorn) because we didn’t have a nice golf course to play on at the time,” he said.

According to Vanscotter, who said he’s often referred to as the historian when it comes to sports in the Elkhorn area, EAHS regularly traveled to Monroe, Watertown, Oconomowoc and some Milwaukee schools, to play non-conference games.

“We were just a bunch of hicks from Walworth County,” he said.

The history of what was initially the Southern Conference, Vanscotter said, began with five schools – Burlington, Delavan, Elkhorn, Lake Geneva and Whitewater.

Because of only having five schools involved, it was too small so SWANI (Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois) was formed and existed from 1946 to 1953, he said.

It was after SWANI when the Southern Lakes Conference was created, according to Vanscotter, who said in addition to the original five schools East Troy, Mukonago and Wilmot were added.

He said he knows the history of Elkhorn sports and likes to share that information with others.

“It’s fun for me and I think it’s important to let people know how things used to be,” he said, adding that the annual gathering is also a good time.

“It’s just some old jocks from the late 1950s,” Vanscotter said with a laugh. “It’s really fun shooting the breeze with the guys and sharing old stories. I enjoy talking with the people who attend.”

The SLC reunion will be at noon on Friday, Oct. 8, at Someplace Else, 1 W. Walworth St. in Elkhorn. Attendees can choose to order lunch or not but a reservation is required for seating purposes.

“It works well because they let us use that room and that makes it easier for us to talk with each other,” Vanscotter said.

Those planning to attend the Oct. 8 reunion are asked to call John Kilkenny at 262-275-6562 so he can provide the count to Someplace Else.

 
 

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