The Gus Macker Basketball Tournament is returning to South Bend as part of the city’s sesquicentennial weekend celebration. Would-be basketball players will descend on downtown South Bend for a family-friendly 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
The tournament will be played on the newly remodeled Jefferson Boulevard as well as the Howard Park parking lot. A “Dream Court” with a game announcer and special prizes will be reserved for youth players. According to organizers, a dunk contest and other special events are also planned.
Participants include both male and female with ages ranging from 7 years old to over 50. Teams are placed into a male or a female division, and further divided into a Junior, Adult and “Top” divisions. Age, height and experience of all players is considered. Teams are then computer-matched with other teams.
Each team is guaranteed at least three scheduled games in the tournament. The format is double elimination with teams that lose their first two games joining the “Toilet Bowl”.
The tournament began on a Michigan driveway in 1974 and has rapidly expanded. The organizers say that the Gus Macker tour has hosted 972 tournaments with over 2.2 million players and 23 million spectators since 1987.
Gus Macker tournaments take place across the United States. So far there are nearly 50 tournaments planned this summer in states ranging from New York to New Mexico. Most of the tournaments are hosted in small to medium-sized cities, although large cities such as Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis-St. Paul are hosting this summer.
The South Bend event will be held during the city’s 150th anniversary weekend celebration on May 23 and 24.
You don’t have to wait to register. In conjunction with the Downtown South Bend First Friday theme of March Madness, the tournament will offer onsite registration, Gus Macker merchandise giveaways, and a special appearance by the MackerMan mascot from 5 to 8pm this Friday, March 6 at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.
Teams are asked to register in advance. The mail-in registration deadline is May 1. The online registration deadline is May 4. The event is limited to 250 teams. The entry fee is $150. On-site registration at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, which will be offered today only, will save participants an $8 processing fee for online registrations. For more information on the basketball tournament, visit the local Macker Tournament website at http://macker.com/local/south-bend-in.
The wider South Bend 150th anniversary celebration is expected to draw over 50,000 people to downtown South Bend across 10 different entertainment zones. Entertainment will range from concerts and food to an “adventure park” and a kids’ zone.
More information on the anniversary weekend can be found on the SB 150 website at http://sb150.com/birthday-weekend.