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Middle school brings back ‘Ham Scramble’ musical chairs fundraiser

Middle school brings back ‘Ham Scramble’ musical chairs fundraiser
  • PublishedMarch 31, 2022

2013 Ham Scramble/ courtesy Chamber of Commerce

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This April Sulphur Springs Middle School will resurrect a county favorite– the Ham Scramble– which might just be Texas’s largest game of musical chairs. 

The Ham Scramble will take place on April 24 at 3 p.m. on the downtown square. Tickets are $5 each and benefit the middle school’s gifted and talented program. 

In addition, local vendors will set up at the plaza with food, treats, and games for all. All ages are welcome, but children must be old enough to understand the rules of musical chairs in order to play. You must bring your own chair to participate. 

The Ham Scramble dates back to the late 1980s when SSMS teacher Johnny Wells founded the event to benefit the gifted and talented program. 

Wells was given a whole pig and instructed to use it for fundraising– and thus, came up with the idea and the name for the Ham Scramble. While there is no longer any ham involved, students in GT contribute prizes and each participant walks away with at least a $5 prize.  

Over the years, more than 100 participants have gathered every year on the downtown lawn to play musical chairs. SSMS teacher Brooke Howard noted that it can get “pretty competitive,” especially when the field is narrowed down to the final ten players. 

However, she noted, it is one of the Hopkins County events that inaugurates the outdoor fun season. 

Research seems to suggest there is no other Texas city with a large-scale game of musical chairs. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was the largest,” Howard said. 

“It’s certainly the largest in our area,” noted Paula Altenbaumer of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society. 

In 2022, Howard believes it will be bigger and better than ever. Funds raised during the Ham Scramble pay for all GT events during the year, including their formal dinner and Destination Imagination competitions. 

For more information on the Ham Scramble, email

By Taylor Nye

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Written By
Taylor Nye

Taylor Nye is the editor of Front Porch News. She has degrees from the University of Wisconsin in human biology, Latin American studies, and public health. She has previously worked at the Wisconsin State Journal, Tucson Weekly and Sulphur Springs News-Telegram. As a sixth generation Hopkins County resident, she loves celebrating our heritage and history.