It is being planned as a banquet like no other in the 50 years since the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1959. For this year’s banquet the chamber selected the largest facility in town, appropriately Bridge City High School.

The location is symbolic. Steve Worster is the 2009 50th Anniversary Citizen of the Year. His iconic No. 30 Cardinal football jersey, long retired, Is displayed in a foyer of the gymnasium.

Worster, 60, will be honored during the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce 2010 annual banquet, Feb. 20, 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and commemorative, available at the chamber.

Worster was inducted to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame last March. He had been among the nearly 9,800 Bridge City residents who suffered in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Sept, 13, 2008. It was a message he carried to the podium as he spoke of the resiliency and hope of his hometown to a national audience during ceremonies in Waco.

“This year’s banquet is a remembering, a reunion and a revival,” said Becky Andrews, BCCC banquet chairwoman.

Worster led the Bridge City Cardinals to a 13-1 season and the Class 3-A state football championship in 1966 on a return trip from 1965. He was named a High-School All-American.

The lineup of guest speakers are each beloved former BCHS coaches, teachers and administrators. Introducing Worster will be Glen Pearson, Bill Godwin and H.N. “Moe” Litton. Each local legends in their own right. Master of Ceremonies will be Jeff Anderson.

“It all goes back to BCHS and what happened here during two football seasons over four decades ago,” said Andrews. According to Andrews a sense of unity and community pride emerged. “It changed everything,” she said.

Worster would put the small unheard of town of Bridge City on the map. He became a legendary fullback in the famed Darrell Royal wishbone offense. He helped lead the Texas Longhorns to back-to-back national championships in 1969-70.

He was a three time All-Southwest Conference selection who finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting for the 1970 season. He was also voted 1970 Texas Amateur Athlete of the Year by Texas Sports Writers Association. He wore the same No. 30 as he had as a Bridge City Cardinal. 

“Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal in most towns but it is here,” Andrews said, “The banquet is about the spirit that was born from that era and how it has sustained us. Bridge City tradition has it’s roots there.”

Special honorary seating is being provided for both state playoff teams, families, classmates, teachers and coaches. Former team sweetheart Alice Hartsfield and team member Darrell Segura are spearheading a reunion to coincide with the event.

Worster has also been inducted to the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and the Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame.

Also being honored at this years banquet is COS (Central Office Supply) as 2009 Business of the Year. Thirty-five years after Bill and Betty Smith started the business, COS is owned and operated by grandson Eric Andrus. 2009 Ambassador of the Year is Ricky Land, Acadian Ambulance Service and 2009 BCCC board member.

The event is being catered by Tuffy’s. The main entrees are fried fish or marinated chicken.

To win the Clas 3A state championship the underdog Bridge City Cardinals romped to a symbolic 30-6 win over McKinney at Baylor Stadium. Bridge City also reach the Class 3A state championship in 1965 before losing to Brownwood, 14-0.

Worster was a three-season All-State running back at Bridge City and accumulated 5,422 yards during his high school career, including 38 100-yard games. His record remains second in Texas prep history behind Robert Strait’s 41 (Ken Hall and Billy Sims also had 38 100-yard games).