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Decatur Games

Justin Brooks, left, and other finalists participate in the wing-eating contest during the Decatur Games at Pop's Place on Thursday. 

DECATUR — Justin Brooks said he was feeling pretty confident Thursday evening. 

It was his first time participating in the annual Decatur Games in about two years. While his teammates tackled the evening's other activities, euchre and karaoke, Brooks was waiting to compete as a finalist in the wing eating contest.

He was still full from eating in the first round, but that didn't make him any less hungry to win. 

"I really could have gotten first, but I didn't want to choke on the wings," said Brooks, who was a member of the Decatur Indoor Sports Center's team. "This time, I'm not going to hold back."

Hosted at Pop's Place, 4335 W. Main St., Thursday's event was the second to last night of competition for this year's Decatur Games. Traditionally, the games have taken place on multiple nights over a two-week span, but for the 2017 games, organizers decided to try out a new format. 

This year's games kicked off on Sept. 7, and competitions were held on the two following Thursdays. On Saturday, the games will conclude with a daylong event at Rotary Park off of U.S. 51. Games ranging from trivia to pickleball have been played in the previous weeks. 

The final day will feature a variety of backyard games, like sand volleyball and Wiffle ball, and a traveling trophy will be awarded to the team that earns the most points at the end of play. 

Rachael Bishop, recreation supervisor for the DISC, said she and other organizers decided to change the format because participating in the games for two straight weeks had become too taxing for some teams in recent years. 

Seven teams registered for this year's games, she said, and their reactions to the changes have so far been mixed. 

"Some companies like the old format, and some companies like the new one," Bishop said. "It's 50-50. It's hard to please all of the people, but we decided to try something different and switch it up a bit."

As a participant in past Decatur Games, Michelle Burns said she's on the fence about the new format. She likes that the competition nights are more spread out throughout the month, but is not yet sold on the daylong event on Saturday. 

Regardless, Burns said her experiences representing Tate & Lyle at the games have been enjoyable. 

"I always think it's fun," she said. "We always like to have a team, and we come together, and you sometimes get to see people you don't get to see all the time. We get to know each other, and it's just a fun environment."

Bishop said the DISC usually asks all of the teams to take a survey at the end of the games to gauge their experience about the year's competitions. 

There are currently no plans for what next year's games might look like, but Bishop said she and her committee will take all of the participants' feedback into account. 

"A lot of teams said the 4 out of 5 weekday format was a little much, so the once a week kinds of things are pretty popular," she said. 

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jcook@herald-review.com | (217) 421-7980

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Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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