It has roots dating back to 1946 in Corvallis, Ore.
It has ties to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Ma.
It has tremendous travel opportunities that are absolutely free.
It’s official name is the Elks Hoop Shoot, a unique youth basketball competition for boys and girls ages 8-to-13 that will again have contests at the local, district, state and regional levels leading up to the April 18, 2020 national finals in Chicago, Ill.
“It all starts this Sunday (November 17) at various locations around the state,” said Steve Lagesse, a Past Exalter Ruler of the Tri-City Elks Lodge No. 14 in Warwick who is the Rhode Island Elks Hoop Shoot Director. “We’ll crown six champions – three girls and three boys – Sunday who will move on to the district finals.”
Lagesse, who has directed the Rhode Island Elks Hoop Shoot for many, many years, went on, “We invite your children, grandchildren nieces, nephews, neighbors’ boys and girls to compete in Tri-City’s Hoop Shoot Sunday. It’s lots of fun and the event is open to boys and girls (ages 8-to-13) for free. There is no entry fee whatsoever.”
All the girls and boys have to do is show up Sunday at the Cranston YMCA that’s located at 1225 Park Avenue in Cranston and sign up and try to sink as many foul shots as possible out of 25. The girls and boys are will compete in separate age divisions: 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13 – according to their ages as of April 1, 2020.
“The entire program, from the local to national finals, is funded by the Elks National Foundation,” Lagesse offered. “It’s not quite like James Naismith nailing up the peach bucket in Springfield (Mass.) but our (Elks) Hoop Shoot is steeped with all kinds of history.”
History, in fact, dates back to 1946 when Elks Past National President Frank Hise observed a group of boys playing basketball and noticed how the smaller kids had a hard time keeping with the others.
Thus, to level the imbalance, Hise organized where every child could participate and the Elks Hoop Shoot was born. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that the program held its first national finals in Kansas City.
In 1974, the Elks National Foundation started funding the program and in 1975 the Basketball Hall of Fame offered to add a plague with each names of the six annual winners that still takes place today.
It was back in 2016 that Chicago became home of the national finals while in New England the annual championships in three age categories for boys and girls is held in South Portland, Me.
Anyone who’d like more information should call Lagesse at (401) 413-5888.