Rochester Elk Lodge hosts 51st annual Hoop Shoot for kids
(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Elk Lodge has participated in the national Hoop Shoot contest for 51 years, but the number of kids participating has been dwindling in recent years.
The tournament is free for any kids ages eight to 13 to participate in, as all funding is covered by the Elk Lodge. The tournament gives kids the opportunity to earn scholarships for their future education.
For decades, kids across the country are putting their toes to the line, hoping to get that free-throw and earn a scholarship for future schooling, all thanks to America’s Elk Lodges. On Sunday kids from Preston to Mazeppa and Spring valley to Chatfield came to RCTC take their shot.
“We’ve sent, I don’t know how many thousands of kids through this program,” said Rochester Elk Lodge president Matt Skinner. “Some of those who are really good have been award scholarships for their future education. And each year the Elk’s spend millions of dollars”
While fewer kids are showing up, even if there’s only one child, excited to shoot their shot, the elk’s will keep the tournament running.
“It’s something that’s near and dear to us, we’re never going to let this go,” said Skinner.
This year, eight kids from the first age bracket came ready to play, with over 20 total showing up ready for their chances to continue on for a scholarship.
“I just heard about it at my school and they said just show up at RCTC to do it. I just came to shoot hoops, have fun, and try to win,” said Brooke Boerger, a student at Bear Cave Elementary in Stewartville.
She was shocked when she realized she was a first place winner. Although she has another week until the next round, she won’t miss out on any time to practice her free throws.
“I’ll probably get some practice because I still do basketball so I’ll probably get some practice in anyways because I have a tournament today,” Boerger said.
The kids winning Sunday’s tournament will advance to the next round in Mankato on January 14. Elk Lodge organizers hope the interest from these participants will help see more kids back at the free throw line next winter.