KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 11, 8:30 am – In a spin on the popular game played by millions, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) and Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) hosted one of the world’s largest human checkers games in downtown Kissimmee on Wednesday.
Using a downtown Kissimmee street, the game featured 24 local dignitaries who were selected as “checkers” – twelve from Kissimmee and twelve from neighboring St. Cloud. A city commissioner from each of the respective cities called their moves from utility bucket trucks positioned 30 feet above a giant checkerboard painted on a downtown street.
The tradition of human checkers began 77 years ago in Osceola County. On a Saturday afternoon in 1927, crowds began to gather around a checkerboard at Broadway and Darlington Avenue. Community pride was at stake, and Kissimmee and St. Cloud residents were there to rally support for their towns and to prove their checkerboard champs were up to the challenge.
On Wednesday, Kissimmee Commissioner Wendell McKinnon played from a KUA bucket truck, while St. Cloud Councilman-elect Mike Wetzel positioned himself inside an OUC bucket truck.
KUA Board Chairman Don Shearer was a “checker” representing Kissimmee. In the end, Kissimmee walked away with the championship trophy and tied the series, 2-2. The annual human checkers event was revived in 2001 by the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce as part of an effort to revitalize Kissimmee’s downtown business district.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric, water and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.
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Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116