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Youth basketball: Shoot-out is ready to go

WORTHINGTON -- The Sports and Recreation Committee of the Worthington Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau is anxious to show off what its city is all about Saturday. The largest event the committee puts on each year is the Wild Turkey Shoot-out ...

 

WORTHINGTON - The Sports and Recreation Committee of the Worthington Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is anxious to show off what its city is all about Saturday.
The largest event the committee puts on each year is the Wild Turkey Shoot-out basketball tournament. It has been a Worthington staple since 1986.
“We have great volunteers that show everyone the Worthington way,” said tournament director Nicholas Raymo. “We’re ready at 7 a.m. with concessions set up and ready to welcome everyone.”
This year’s tournament will feature nearly 40 teams from about a 60-mile radius of Worthington in four different age groups. All told, about 400 boys in grades 6-9 will play in the tournament, which takes place in nine different gyms throughout town.
Scheduling all of that for just one day might sound like a logistical nightmare, but Raymo - who has been on the committee for 11 years and tournament director for five - said with great support and years of experience to lean on, it’s not nearly as bad as it might sound.
“We have a great community, great volunteers and a great (Chamber of Commerce) to back us up,” he said. “We’ve been a well-oiled machine since 1986.”
Over the years, Raymo said participation in the tournament has had its ebbs and flows; years of growth and decline. One thing that has remained a constant, however, is the fact that the Sports and Recreation Committee is known for putting on a high-quality tournament. That is evidenced by the fact that certified high school referees are used for the ninth-grade tournament. That group also plays its games on the home floor the Minnesota West Bluejays and Lady Jays, giving it the opportunity to play on a college court.
Part of what has helped keep the tournament successful is a relationship that is mutually beneficial for the players and their families along with Worthington and its local businesses.
“It’s a great fundraiser for the Worthington Sports and Recreation Committee,” Raymo said. “It’s nice to see local businesses stand behind this. It’s also great for the kids and their families. It gives our youth something productive to do.”
Although the tournament has been successful for nearly 30 years, nothing is written in stone. Raymo said the group is always looking for new ideas and if anyone has input or would like to volunteer, the sports and recreation committee is always happy to talk about it.
In the final days leading up the tournament, Raymo said his phone has been “ringing off the hook” as last minute details and changes are being ironed out. But, for the most part, he said they’re ready to tip off.
“It’s gonna be a great thing,” he said. “We’re ready to rock.”

 

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