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  • Fairbury News staff

Remembering the Tartars

The 1970 Fairbury-Cropsey High School football team / photo via Jim Munz.

You can almost bet when the Fairbury-Cropsey class of 1971 gathers for its 50th reunion this year, high school athletics will be brought up a time or two.

Jim Munz, a local 1971 graduate and founder of the Remember the Tartars sports blog, recalls his class as one of the best athletic groups in the history of Fairbury and Fairbury-Cropsey schools.

“That class was 9-0-0 in football which only happened three times in the history of the school,” Munz said.

The basketball team ended up with a 16-8 record that year and was the only Tartar team with a winning record over a 16-year span. A successful track season followed and the baseball team went 16-0.

“That’s a pretty good year for sports teams,” noted Munz.

A number of 1971 graduates from Fairbury-Cropsey went on to play in college. Steve Ricketts played football at ISU while Warren Cox, Charlie Taylor and Tommy Rigsby played at JJC. Cox went on to play football and baseball at Illinois Wesleyan and Randy Freed ran track at Parkland until experiencing an injury.

The 1971 graduating class and others will gather for the annual alumni banquet in Fairbury on Memorial Day weekend and the festivities begin with a gathering the Friday before – May 28 – at the Indian Creek Golf Course and Country Club. The old green and gold crowd will look through yearbooks and reminisce about times gone by.

“This will start us off a day early for the people that come back to town and relive the glory days of high school,” Munz added.

Munz’s sports blog can be found at, covering both Fairbury and Fairbury-Cropsey athletics. Some great teams are included in the history spanning from 1920 through the end of Fairbury-Cropsey High School in 1985 before it merged with nearby towns to form Prairie Central.

“I’ve had a lot of people suggest that I may want to put this in a book someday,” Munz admitted.

The book might happen someday if Munz lasts “long enough” he says.

This year’s Fairbury-Cropsey and Prairie Central alumni banquet is planned for Saturday, May 29 at the PCHS gymnasium in Fairbury. Light appetizers will be available at 5 p.m. with tours of the high school to anyone interested. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

Honored classes this year include: 2010, 2000, 1995, 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, 1950, 1945 and 1940 as well as 2011, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1981, 1971, 1961, 1951, 1946 and 1941. These extra classes are honored since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of last year’s banquet.

If the alumni banquet is canceled again, organizers plan to let each committee chair know as soon as possible so they can inform their classes. Any money received would be returned.

A Fairbury-Cropsey baseball team pic from 1970 / photo via Jim Munz. This was his junior year.

The 1970-1971 Fairbury-Cropsey basketball team / photo via Jim Munz.

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