MORTON — Pies will fly at the 12th annual Backyard Talent Show for St. Jude.
The Morton High School and Washington Community High School girls basketball teams are battling it out off the court on these hot summer days to see which team can raise the most money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Unlucky representatives from the losing team will have whipped cream pies pushed in their faces by members of the winning team July 14 during the Backyard Talent Show in Morton.
As many as 25 youthful acts will be in the show, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the Idlewood Arts Pavilion stage in Idlewood Park.
Each show performer raises money for St. Jude. The show has brought in more $150,000 through the years including a record $14,071 last year. This year's goal is $15,000.
The Washington girls basketball team took the early fundraising lead over Morton on Saturday. The Panthers had a car wash, dunk tank and bake sale in the sweltering Big R parking lot in their hometown.
A fire truck and firefighters from the Northern Tazewell Fire Department also were on hand. Children checked out the fire truck and put on firefighters gear.
Word of the multifaceted event was spread through social media and the old-fashioned way. Washington basketball players stood with signs and waved to motorists at the corner of Washington Road and North Cummings Lane.
Washington senior Cami Marshall said about $1,000 was raised. Two generous donors stood out in her mind.
"One person got a car wash, handed us a $20 bill and said, 'Keep the change," she said. "Another person came out of Big R and gave us $20."
Among those who took turns in the dunk tank were Washington coach Kim Barth and assistant coach Hayley Reneau.
They said the cold water was refreshing, but getting slapped in the back by the spring-loaded diving board didn't feel so hot.
Everything at the bake sale was $1. The basketball players made most of the baked goods.
"We don't have any other events planned, but our team will be getting donations from family and friends," Marshall said. "We're happy to raise money for St. Jude. We like giving back to the community anytime we can."
Senior Makenna Baughman is the Morton girls basketball team's spokesperson in the friendly competition with Washington.
She shares a connection with Marshall. They were AAU basketball teammates when they were in fifth grade.
Baughman said Morton doesn't have any fundraising events planned.
"We're thinking of ideas," she said. "Maybe a car wash, a bake sale, a lemonade stand ...."
While the Potters don't have an event scheduled, they do have the resources of the 10th annual St. Jude Morton to Peoria Run in their corner.
Kevin and Tracey Baughman, Makenna's parents, were two of the founders of the satellite run for the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run.
Tracey is a Morton to Peoria Run coordinator and the treasurer for this year's run, which will be Aug. 3.
Makenna ran the Morton to Peoria route for the first time last year, following in her parents' footsteps, and she's a former Backyard Talent Show participant.
She did a dance routine with friend Lindsay Knepp when they were in fourth grade.
"I wasn't nervous. It was so much fun," Makenna said.
Pies in the face have been a part of the Backyard Talent Show since 2014.
Morton policemen and firemen, Morton pediatrician Dr. Shad Beaty, sportscaster Jim Mattson and Morton High School football and boys basketball players have been on the receiving end of pies, the latter two by the Washington Community High School football and boys basketball players.
The Backyard Talent Show was held originally in the backyard of the Kolvek home in Morton. It moved to Idlewood Park in 2011.
There's no admission charge for the show, but donations for St. Jude are accepted. Proceeds from concession sales also go to St. Jude.
It's a good idea for spectators to bring lawn chairs for seating.
For more information on the show, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go the event's Facebook page.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.