DANVILLE — All it took for Jason Henton to take over organizing the Dustbowl was a phone call.
The Danville native heard the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency was thinking about ending organization duties, but Henton took the charge.
“I just asked. I was hearing they were thinking about ending it and I wanted to help and see if I could take it over,” Henton said. “I made a presentation and they were happy with what I showed them and they were impressed.
“I just didn’t want to see something that has been around for over 40 years go away.”
After 35 years of running the tournament, the ECICAA will now concede to Henton, who played for Danville High and has a longstanding history of organizing and operating basketball tournaments along with tournaments for the Danville YMCA and Boys and Girls Club.
“I started with the YMCA in the winter league and then started a spring league and then a winter league for the Boys and Girls Club,” Henton said. “I put together leagues, but this will be in a larger scale.”
Henton promises that he is not only going to hold this tournament for Danville, but for the rest of the county as well.
“I am more of a community guy. I have not only worked with kids in DHS, but kids in Bismarck, Westville, North Ridge and South View schools,” Henton said. “I want to include people from other areas.”
“Jason’s past participation in the tournament and his commitment to continue building upon a strong tradition should serve the Dustbowl well,” said Chairperson of the ECICAA Governing Board of Directors Doug Ahrens said. “The Dustbowl Tournament is a summertime tradition; bringing guest, families and friends back to the Danville community, thereby creating tourism and supporting the local economy.”