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Hooping it up: Basketball tourney adds new element to festival
This year the Real.Texas.Festival added a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for ages 8 to 18 to its traditional programming. The tournament is scheduled for April 27. Participants will also get an added bonus in addition to the competition. Every participant will have the opportunity to attend a basketball skills clinic hosted by Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. - Kelsey Kruzich / Staff photo
Mesquite's Real.Texas.Festival. is fast approaching and the city is reaching out to youth with a new addition this year. The city added a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for ages 8 to 18 to its traditional programming. The tournament is scheduled for April 27.
"The idea has been bounced around for a couple of years now as an option to program a troubled area or 'dead' space at the event. The breezeway that allows patrons to walk from the hotel/exhibit hall to Mesquite Arena provides a natural barrier. It creates the appearance the event stops right there, even though the car show is highly publicized. We've tried other programming options in what we call the south lot but it's been difficult to draw people to that area," said Daren Watkins, festival coordinator. "The addition of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament [allows] a better deployment of our human resources. We have some extremely talented recreation professionals who will be able to better use their expertise in planning and carrying out a recreational activity, rather than performing random logistics functions."
Watkins said that adding the tournament diversifies the festival even more, since it could be held independently without the festival.
"It will provide yet another attraction for attendees to see if they choose to as part of their festival ticket, as well as offering a target demographic for our food vendors and carnival attraction," Watkins said. "We want it to be another attraction that sets the Real.Texas.Festival. apart. There are music events, rodeo events and sporting events. The Real.Texas.Festival. is a music, culture, rodeo and now a sports event. It further separates the festival from the [rest of the] herd."
Tournament participants will also get an added bonus in addition to the competition. Every participant will have the opportunity to attend a basketball skills clinic hosted by Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
"One of the highlights of the festival is value, value, value. Teams participating in the tournament not only get a T-shirt, entry into the festival, three games guaranteed, trophies for winning teams and more, they also get a free skills clinic presented by a hall of fame player, coach and best-selling author on the game," Watkins said. "We're excited to have someone the caliber of Nancy Lieberman associated with the festival."
Registration forms and team fees are due by April 7. The cost to enter for a team of children 8 and under to 12 and under is $100 per team, and $120 for a team 14 and under to 18 and under. A $25 per team late fee will be added for payments made after the April 7 deadline. Teams can register at Dunford Recreation Center, Evans Recreation Center or the parks and recreation office.
For information on the tournament, contact Mike Kraft with the Mesquite Parks and Recreation Department at email@example.com or 972-216-6422.
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