Adult basketball players of various sizes and ability once again will converge on 14 area gyms to battle for bragging rights and cash prizes at the 33rd annual Whoopers & Hoopers Basketball Tournament Friday through Sunday.
Organized by the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce since 2006, the citywide hoops extravaganza attracts players of various experience — from professional to pick-up levels — for a weekend of competitive games, socializing and, for some players, displaying their skills during a 3-point shooting and slam dunk contests.
Mikki Shafer, who directs the tournament, is expecting another slam dunk success for the much-anticipated event. With 143 teams and 1,200 players ready to roll into town with family and friends in tow, there is much to be excited about, especially for area businesses that will benefit from what Shafer hopes will be record-setting attendance numbers this year.
“This is, by far, one of our more fun weekends,” she said. “A lot of the players coming here will see friends they haven’t seen since last year at the tournament. We work a lot of hours on it, but it’s well worth it. It’s fun.
“Players bring in family members to watch their games and they make a little mini-vacation out of it. Most of the teams have down time between games to see the attractions, then come back for their games.”
Men’s and women’s teams will compete in these divisions: Elite, B, C, D-1 and D-2. Elite and B teams will follow a double-elimination format, while C, D-1, and D-2 teams are guaranteed two games each. Games begin at 6 p.m. Friday at various area gyms, with the Elite Men’s finals game to be played at 2 or 4 p.m. Sunday in the Lynn Farrell Arena at Hastings College. The Women’s Elite finals will tip off at 3 p.m. Sunday in the arena.
Straight shooters and high fliers can put their leaping and shooting skills to the test in the 3-point shooting and slam dunk contests on Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the arena. The contests are open to the public and do not require additional participation in the tournament to compete. An entry fee and waiver form are required to participate.
The 3-point contest is open to the first 30 shooters who sign up, while the slam dunk contest is limited to the first 15. Following the contest, players are admitted free to the players’ party later at the City Auditorium. Others may join them for a nominal fee and enjoy complimentary submarine sandwiches, pizza, and beverages included with the price of admission.
Volunteers still are needed to assist with ticket taking at the various sites. Individual day tickets and tournament wristbands will be sold throughout the event.
Anyone interested in volunteering may call Shafer at 402-461-8400.