Gus Macker tournament coming to downtown Big Rapids May 18-19

Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball comes to downtown Big Rapids for the second straight spring on May 18-19. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — It’s the 46th season of Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball, and for the second straight year, downtown Big Rapids will be a part of it.

Big Rapids girls basketball coach Jessica Haist is again the local director of the Big Rapids Macker, which will be played on Michigan Avenue on May 18-19. It will be the second outdoor Macker event of 2019. The first one is April 27-28 in Mount Pleasant.

Macker came to Big Rapids in midway last year but was on Michigan Avenue, directly north of M-20/Maple Street. This year, it will be immediately south of the Maple-Michigan intersection. Elm Street might be used and courts could go as far south as Linden, depending on how many courts are needed.

“Conversations with the city led to the decision to move it,” Haist said.

Opening ceremonies will be 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Games will start 8:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Registration will be Friday night and Saturday morning.

“We’re waiting to hear from the business association downtown as there are a couple of vacant building storefronts on that block they’re going to let us use for registration,” Haist said.

She anticipates having between 16 and 20 courts on Michigan Ave.

“That’s about the same number as last year, give or take a couple,” she said “We had about 130 teams last year. We’re hoping to see more. They estimated it brought 6,000 spectators at some point in time last year. The weather was terrible (raining). We’re hoping the weather will be a little more accommodating this time.”

One new feature this year with be a youth court for ages 8 and under. In the past, youngsters in this age group had to play with older participants.

“We’ll try to accommodate them,” Haist said. “Those are the ones we want to see play.”

There will be a top men’s division, possibly a top women’s if there are entries and a dream court. A dunk and 3-point contest are scheduled.

“We’re hoping to have a kids dunk contest. We’re working on the details for that as well,” Haist said.

Big Rapids Basketball is the organizing group for the event.

“We go out and get a lot of local sponsors,” Haist said.

Presenting sponsors are Meijer, Ferris State University, 2 Hats Ranch, General Mills and Evergreen Physical Therapy, plus several special event sponsors. Others interested in being sponsors can contact Haist at the high school.

Mail-in deadline is on April 26 and online deadline is on April 29 www.macker.com.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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