Hastings, Neb. – (KSNB) It has been a good run, but it has come to a good spot to stop. And when the 19th annual Jonathon Reiber Memorial Soccer Festival is finished this weekend in Hastings, a lasting reminder will be left behind.
The classic began after Jonathon Reiber was killed in a car accident in 1999. After that, some of this soccer playing friends came up with the idea of the festival to be played in his honor and to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. The car that struck the one driven by Reiber was being driven by a drunk driver.
“The idea came, can we just have a day when we come together as a community and play the sport that we love,” said Jason Marr, tournament organizer and life long friend of Reiber’s. “We try and win and compete but we do it keeping in mind it is a game.”
This festival is unique in that people do not form and register their own teams. Individuals sign up and teams are formed by pulling names out of a hat. Marr says you might play with people you know, you might play with people you have never met.
Throughout the years, funds raised by the festival have been used scholarships and other uses, and that’s where the lasting reminder comes into play. At this year’s festival, tournament organizers will unviel brand new soccer scoreboards for the Hastings High School fields, which have been home to the festival.
“Our first initiative was actually to get a couple scoreboards for the high school soccer fields,” said Marr. “Jon and I were the first players to ever use those (fields) as freshmen. Twenty years later they’re still missing that core piece. So, we thought this was a great way to continue his legacy.”
The scoreboards will be dedicated at 10:00 a.m. Saturday as the last festival begins.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Why don’t you end on 20?”, Marr said. “Well, the reason is Jon lived 19 years. So, we really wanted to celebrate one festival covering every single year of his life. So, 19 felt right.”
You can see more about the history and story behind the festival at on their web site.