Tecmo Bowl video game event raises record amount for David Fulcher Foundation

Chris Vogt just wanted to have some fun playing Tecmo Super Bowl when he decided to start a local tournament more than a decade ago.

On a whim, the Fairfield Twp. resident reached out to invite former Cincinnati Bengals safety David Fulcher, who was one of the top defensive players in the classic 1990s Nintendo video game and still lives in the area. Fulcher agreed to come sign autographs to help draw more interest, and from that first tournament in 2008, a partnership was born.

Now the Midwest Tecmo Super Bowl tournament has become an annual event to raise money for local families impacted by multiple sclerosis through the David Fulcher Foundation, but the 13th year brought a new challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. Vogt and his tournament committee called an audible and held a 24-hour live-streamed marathon event last weekend, that raising an all-time high $6,010.

“We felt like we needed to think of innovative ways to work against the COVID pandemic and find ways to continue to raise money, so we went to my brother’s house, set up a high-tech stream with different camera angles, hooked up the Nintendo and the six of us involved took turns playing for 24 hours while people watched online,” said Vogt, who also founded the prep sports website BCHSSReport.com. “We wanted to make it where people didn’t have to donate to watch, but if they wanted to they could donate on GoFundMe or people could share the stream to help spread the word.”

Vogt said the goal was to raise $5,000, but some donations in the last hour put the total above $6,000, which made it their most successful event. Fulcher was awarded a mini Lombardi Trophy, which normally would have gone to the tournament winner had the event run as normal.

“What’s really nice about is none of those guys have a connection with M.S., but they all have a connection with the old football game, Tecmo Bowl,” Fulcher said. “Those guys were awesome. Twenty-four hours is a long time to be gaming, but they stuck it out and the support of the community was unbelievable. It’s been 13 years now and this was our biggest fundraiser. It was awesome to see. It shows if we put our heads together working for a common goal, good things can happen.”

Fulcher does have a connection to M.S., which is why he started the foundation about 16 years ago and about five years after his wife Judy was diagnosed with the disease. Judy was driving to work one morning when she started feeling pain in the left side of her face and decided to get off the highway. Just as she pulled off, she was paralyzed on the entire left side of her body and had no feeling in her body at all by the time Fulcher arrived and the EMTs carted her into an ambulance.

It took four months for doctors to diagnose her condition, but while she is doing OK with it now, Fulcher and his wife know that some families need assistance. The foundation helps.

Like Vogt, Fulcher didn’t really know what he was getting into – or that his foundation would benefit – when he agreed to attend the first Midwest Tecmo Super Bowl tournament in 2008. He considers himself a down-to-Earth, “normal guy” who also happens to enjoy playing Tecmo Super Bowl every now and then, so when Vogt initially emailed him to see if he would come, he had no hesitation beyond asking if there would be food.

That event is normally at Rick’s Tavern so customers can watch and donate, and that first one raised about $700 with eight to 10 players competing. Players pay a $35 entry fee and come from all over to compete with 2013 being the peak with 56 players from 16 states.

“We never thought it was going to progress the way it has,” Fulcher said. “I think it’s just going to keep growing.”

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