Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament is back!

LANSING—Sens. John Proos and Bruce Caswell announced on Friday that after the success of last year’s Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament, they are teaming up to host an expanded contest this year in which high schools from throughout the region will compete to see who has the most school spirit.

“The response from last year’s tournament was beyond my wildest expectations. Fans of area schools submitted thousands of photos and hundreds of videos that reached more than 22,000 people who cast more than 1.3 million votes,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I hope we can build on that success and show the rest of the state that no one has more spirit than Southwest Michigan. To help in this effort, this year’s tournament is expanding to 40 schools, giving everyone a terrific opportunity to display their school pride.”

The first round of the 2014 competition begins on Monday, March 10 at noon and will go through noon on Friday, March 14. The entire competition will span six weeks, ending at noon on Friday, April 18, with the champion receiving a special tribute commending their school.

“This is about giving students and alumni an avenue to show their school spirit and tell everyone what makes their school great. The Bridgman Bees were our inaugural champs. Who will be this year’s champion?” Proos said. “Like in the NCAA basketball tournament, the schools will compete in a single-elimination bracket contest with those with the most points moving on each week. There are several ways that you can earn points for your school, such as uploading videos about your school or submitting unique photos.”

The 40 high schools in the tournament have been divided into four brackets that are named for features that characterize Southwest Michigan. School match-ups were chosen at random.

For complete rules and information, visit the Spirit Tournament page on Proos’ Senate website beginning Monday at www.SenatorJohnProos.com or the Notes section of Proos’ Facebook fan page, “John Proos Southwest Michigan Page.”

People can go to the website contest page to vote in polls and upload videos and photos. Visitors to the Facebook page can also upload photos and earn bonus points when others “Like” the photo. Another way to earn points is to follow Senator John Proos on Twitter and send a tweet to @JohnMProos that includes the school name and #SWMISpirit.

Residents with any questions are encouraged to contact Proos’ office at 1-517-373-6960 or by email at senjproos@senate.michigan.gov.

“Each round ends on Friday at noon, so submit your family-friendly photos or video early,” Proos said. “Let the 2014 Southwest Michigan Spirit Tournament begin!”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos WILL BE AVAILABLE on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.