Cutter Barnes, 9, shoots at the basket Tuesday night in the Sunset Elementary gymnasium. Barnes is on one of Craig Recreational Third- and Fourth-grade Youth Basketball teams that play Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Cutter Barnes, 9, shoots at the basket Tuesday night in the Sunset Elementary gymnasium. Barnes is on one of Craig Recreational Third- and Fourth-grade Youth Basketball teams that play Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Shooting at hoops

Elks Lodge sponsors national free throw contest for Craig area youths

If you go

What: Elks National Free Throw "Hoop Shoot" Contest

When: 8 a.m. Dec. 15

Where: Craig Intermediate School, 201 E. Ninth Street

For more information, call Frank Sadvar at 824-6131

— In the world of basketball the free throw shot typically is recognized as the easiest shot in the game.

However, This isn't always the case when there is something on the line.

Not when a chance at advancing to the state championship is at stake.

Boys and girls, ages 8 through 13, will have an opportunity next month to test their meddle at the free throw line, thanks to the Elks Lodge.

The Elks will be holding its annual "hoop shoot" at 8 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Craig Intermediate School gymnasium.

"It's basically a free throw contest for the kids," Elks Lodge member Frank Sadvar said. "We break them up into three age groups for the boys and the girls, so there's six groups overall."

Each contestant will shoot 25 shots. The contestant who sinks the most baskets out of the 25 shots, wins.

The first-place winner from each age group will advance to the district round in Salida with a chance to advance to the regionals in Oklahoma. If fortunate enough, the winner will advance to the national championships held in Springfield, Mass.

Springfield is home of the basketball Hall of Fame. Winners' names will be hung in the same building as past NBA greats.

The Elks Lodge is footing the bill for the Craig winner to advance to districts and will be paying for the Craig champion as long as he or she survives throughout the contest.

"We pay for everything," Sadvar said. "We pick up the tab, they just have to forget how to get there."

Sadvar said the Elks Lodge has been sponsoring the event for more than 25 years. The members enjoy having close ties with the children of the town.

Sadvar said they pride themselves on being at the forefront of the community.

"The Lodge wants to get out in front for the people of Craig to notice what we do here," Sadvar said. "We want to be able to help kids. This sort of thing helps them set goals and gives them something to do instead of all the other bad stuff going on around town."

With no entrance fee for the event, Sadvar expects anywhere between 35 and 70 participants this year.

Beware potential entrants - there is skill involved in an event with a championship reward as large as this.

"Last year's champion is coming back to go at it again this year," Sadvar said. "You'll have to practice if you plan on winning."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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