Event Date & Time

Monday, June 24, 2019
6:00pm - 9:00pm

Event Location

Peoria Civic Center
201 SW Jefferson Ave, Peoria, IL 61602
Get Directions

About 2019 Best of Central Illinois Preps

Join the Peoria Journal Star as we celebrate and honor the accomplishments of the 2018-2019 high school student athletes at the annual Best of Central Illinois Preps awards banquet. The Best of Central Illinois Preps banquet is the Journal Star's way of saying thank you to the thousands of outstanding high school athletes, coaches, and fans who allow us to share their stories and passions. Sponsored by Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU), Mike Murphy Ford, Ray Dennison Chevrolet Powerhouse, Dr. Dan Joseph of Joseph Health Group and Mascot Sponsor Illinois Pork Producer, the banquet honors all the Best of Central Illinois Preps honorees in each sport and recognizes the overall players of the year, including male and female athlete of the year. Best of Central Illinois Preps athletes are invited to attend for free and the event is open to family, friends and the general public.

We are proud to welcome National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee, Jim Thome, as our featured special guest. Jim will be back in his hometown in Peoria for a question and answer session about lessons he's learned and memories he's made during his career.

Doors open at 6:00pm. Event starts at 6:30pm. General admission tickets may be purchased for $50. General admission ticket includes dinner, awards ceremony, and presentation by guest speaker. General admission seating is first come, first served in proximity to speaker. Best of Central Illinois Preps athletes will receive an invitation with instructions for claiming your free ticket.

Best of Central Illinois Preps is presented by the Journal Star in partnership with Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU), Mike Murphy Ford, Ray Dennison Chevrolet Powerhouse, Dr. Dan Joseph of Joseph Health Group and Mascot Sponsor Illinois Pork Producer. Thank you sponsors for allowing us to bring this event to our community.

Special Guest

Jim Thome

National Baseball Hall of Fame
The numbers jump off the page when it comes to Jim Thome, even in an era where power reigned supreme. His 612 home runs rank eighth on Major League Baseball's all-time list, and his 1,747 walks rank seventh. Only six players have totaled at least 1,700 walks and 1,699 RBI: Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Barry Bonds and Thome. And yet Thome, the blue-collar boy from Peoria, Ill., always seemed to work hardest at something that could never be quantified: His character.
Undrafted out of high school, Thome enrolled at Illinois Central College in Peoria and was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft. After struggling in his pro debut in 1989, Thome worked with former Indians hitting coach - and future Tribe manager - Charlie Manuel in extended Spring Training in 1990. Quickly, Thome established himself as a legitimate hitting prospect with a smooth left-handed swing that produced both power and average. By 1992, Thome had made it to the big leagues. Two years later, he was Cleveland's every day third baseman.
When he retired, Thome had totaled 1,583 runs scored, 612 home runs and 1,699 RBI. Only seven other players in big league history - Bonds, Ruth, Williams, Manny Ramirez, Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas and Jimmie Foxx - have at least 500 home runs, a .400 on-base percentage and a .550 slugging average. He was named to five All-Star Games and finished in the Top 10 of his league's Most Valuable Player balloting four times.


At CEFCU, helping people is more than a nice idea -- it's the reason we're in business. CEFCU is a place where borrowers help savers and savers help borrowers. We were founded on the principle of people helping people and the belief that by doing so we can all improve our financial well-being. CEFCU has been putting members first since 1937, and have grown to more than $4.7 billion in assets. We serve more than 290,000 members throughout the country. You can rest assured that you are now part of one of the largest and strongest credit unions in the United States. Members continue to rate CEFCU's member service, rates and fees, and product offerings among the best in the nation. And, CEFCU consistently receives the highest ratings from independent financial analysts like Baurer. CEFCU's mission -- the one thing we are here to do more than anything else -- is to help members improve their financial lives. We do that by providing financial products, services, and advice that has members' best interests in mind. CEFCU is Federally Insured by the NCUA.




Morton Chamber of Commerce
Peoria Chamber of Commerce
Affordable Funerals
Peoria Riverfront Museum
Shaun Livingston Foundation
Butch's Pizza
Heart of Illinois United Way
Peoria Ear Nose & Throat/Fyzical
Preckshot Pharmacy


How much do the tickets cost?
Tickets, which include dinner, are $50.

Does anyone beside the student-athletes receive a free ticket?
No, our sponsors have made it possible for all of our honorees to attend Best of Central Illinois Preps for free.

How will the tickets be released?
You can print your tickets at home or show your phone at the door.

Will there be assigned tables?
Only sponsors will have assigned tables.


Pork or Vegetarian

Best of Central Illinois Preps 2018 Video