At the 2023 Indiana State Fair, Schmidt Associates and Turner Construction are honoring Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller with their ‘Choke Out Hunger’ display for the annual CANstruction competition. This captivating structure made entirely of canned goods commemorates Miller’s historic achievement on May 7, 1994, when he scored eight points in under nine seconds to secure a victory for the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks. The remarkable moment in Indiana basketball history is reenacted through a striking structure featuring Miller playfully mimicking a heckler’s gesture with over 1,500 tuna cans in the Pacers’ iconic blue and gold colors, forming his face on a retro-style TV screen.

The CANstruction initiative, founded in 1992, aims to construct life-sized structures made entirely from canned goods to support local food banks across the country. In central Indiana, Gleaners Food Bank will receive the cans following the close of the fair. Since 2008, employees from Schmidt Associates have actively participated in this competition. Last year, the firm collaborated with Turner Construction to build a taco truck that won awards for best meal and best original design.

Architectural Graduate Meghan Wakefield, leading the teams’ efforts, emphasized the natural progression of their collaboration, given shared experiences in designing and constructing the Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion.

“Schmidt Associates and Turner Construction have always been community-focused, recognizing the significant impact this project has on the lives of people in need,” Wakefield said. “As a united team, it’s always been a fun event that allows us to be creative.”

This year, the team, including Wakefield and architectural graduates Daniel Klemen, James Hastings, and Trisha Martin, drew inspiration from the fair’s theme, “Celebrating Basketball: The State That Grew the Game.” On July 28, they devoted their day to building a remarkable portrait of Reggie Miller’s ‘choke’ moment using an impressive 2,689 cans. Once the Indiana State Fair concludes, these cans will be generously distributed to neighbors facing food insecurity.

If you plan to attend the Indiana State Fair from July 28-August 16, visit the Agriculture Horticulture Building and participate in voting for Schmidt Associates and Turner to win the coveted People’s Choice award. To garner more votes, encourage friends and family to do the same and share this noble cause with others. Structures will remain on display through the close of the fair on August 20. For those willing to contribute to the CANstruction effort, donations can be made by sending checks payable to Schmidt Associates, with “CANstruction” indicated in the memo line, to 415 Massachusetts Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204.

A heartfelt appreciation to the dedicated members of the Schmidt Associates and Turner Construction CANstruction teams, including Tiffiny Summers, Jordan Magner, Craig Adams, James Hastings, Meghan Wakefield, Trisha Martin, Paul Frayer, Daniel Klemen, Patrick Grap, and Beth Headrick. Their passion and commitment to the community are truly commendable, making a meaningful difference in the fight against hunger.