SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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January 2018 26 www.sportseventsmagazine.com Wednesday at the Salem Convention Center in a part of the town where there is a lot going on and we get a lot of traffic," Unruh said. "It's a great start to the basketball weekend." The Thursday before the tournament begins, Hoopla offers a free two-hour kids' skills clinic where typically 150 to 200 children participate and get pointers. "In our second year, NBA legend Bill Walton led the clinic. We also had the late Jerome Kersey from the Portland Trail- blazers and Patty Mills from the San Antonio Spurs. Patty came out and worked with the kids at the skills clinic and judged the dunk contest and was around the entire weekend. It was so special to have him. He is a one of a kind athlete who tries to make time for everyone. He is an amazing ambassador for our event." In addition to pulling big name athletes to assist with the tournament and activities, Un- ruh said local high school and college coaches and players also volunteer their time to work with children at the skills clinic or during other events throughout the week. In addition to the 3x3 tournament, Hoopla has also offered a 5K fun run, exercise classes and a kids' camp. "We're never afraid to try something new, but everything doesn't always stick," Unruh said. "It's been an education for me and we are very fortunate to have people who know people who help us out. We have to work with the city, the state, the state park system and we have to pull multiple permits to create this event. At the end of the event we want to leave everything around the Capitol grounds better than we received it, so we make multiple sweeps of the entire area to ensure there is no garbage, not a single piece on the ground." Unruh said he is grateful for the cooperation with all involved in helping to create the event. "We have a world-class venue and we only have 50 states in the whole country with a capi- tol that is equipped to have a basketball tournament on the streets," he said. "We are very fortunate." With four or five city blocks being closed in front of the capitol, three side streets and other streets blocked, the entire area be- comes tournament central with spectators lining the streets. "We having music playing and announce- ments on the sound system and everybody is hearing the same thing. We have shade for spectators and many people sit on the curbs where the curb is out of bounds, so you'll have people's feet on the courts while the game is going on. If you're watching a game, you can be in the middle of it." The organization also gives back to the community, but Unruh said rather than choos- ing a single charity, Hoopla signs a contract with local teams and organizations in return for paying the program to help cover its own expenses with things such as uniforms, camps and retreats. By signing a contract with many different organizations, we can spread the money in many different ways. "When you give $1,500 or $2,500 to something like the local volleyball program and you see them use that to do what they need, it goes a long way. In return, we get skilled help from the high school or college programs, parents, kids, alumni and others. Half of our volunteers are kids. My two daughters are 14 and 12 and they help during the entire weekend. You see these kids working and smiling and giving of themselves. It's pretty powerful and a very special thing to be involved in." Unruh said he's also appreciative of the sponsors who have made the tournament a success. "Our very first sponsor in 1999 was Columbia Bank and they are still a sponsor to this day," he said. "Dutch Bros. Coffee is now a co-sponsor and the Oregon National Guard was a partner from 2010 to 2016. We are the second largest 3x3 tournament in the country and the largest 3x3 tournament in Oregon. It's pretty amazing." n SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue

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