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Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Worthington eighth grade coach Wayne Verdoorn (bottom center) instructs his team at halftime during Saturday's Wild Turkey Shootout in Worthington.

Wild Turkey Shootout tourney a success

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WORTHINGTON -- Some young turkeys of the hoops-shooting variety flocked to Worthington this weekend, just in time for the 25th annual Wild Turkey Shootout.

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Thirty-nine teams, including 330 players from outside of Worthington, took to the courts in gymnasiums across the community on Saturday for the shootout, a basketball tournament for youngsters.

The annual event is considered a "one-day economic boost to Worthington," said Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darleen Macklin.

She estimated this year's tournament brought more than 700 visitors to the community.

"When they come in, they're guaranteed (three) games, and between games is a chance to shop in our different businesses and eat in our different restaurants," she explained.

Tournament director Bruce Viessman said it takes about 100 volunteers to make the event a success, including referees, scorers, timers, and gym "captains" who oversee operations in each gymnasium.

"Over the years we have a lot of the same volunteers because they just like to participate in the event," he said.

The tournament is sponsored by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce's Sports and Recreation committee, and the money raised helps fund youth recreational programs in the community, including Worthington traveling teams.

"It's also used to bring people to Worthington," Viessman added. "If people come here for the tournament, they're going to buy gas, they're going to eat, maybe shop a little bit. It gives us a chance to show (Worthington) off."

The event will draw fourth-through ninth-grade students from South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

"We've got a pretty good representation from the three-state area and a good turnout," Viessman said. "This weekend there are nine other tourneys within a 60-mile radius of Sioux Falls."

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