Hoop Shoot makes a return

The annual district Elks Lodge Hoop Shoot took place Saturday, Dec.11 to give children in the region a chance to show off their shooting skills at the free-throw line. Dickinson Elks Lodge No. 1137 put on the event with 12 volunteers from the organization.

Dickinson Elk Lodge District Hoop Shoot competition took place in the morning of Saturday, Dec. 11. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

The competition is divided by age and gender, for ages 8-13. The first group is 8-9 starting at 9 a.m., then 10-11 and lastly 12-13. The competition winners feed into a state and then national advantacment. This year, there were 74 participants who qualified for the district competition.

Dickinson Elks Lodge No. 1137 put on the district Hoop Shoot contest for local kids to experience friendly-competition and a chance to place for the state level competition. (Contributed / Elks Lodge No. 1137)

“The next level will be in Jamestown and the winner of that will move onto nationals which is in Chicago,” event director John Reger said.


Elk Lodge board member and the event director John Reger. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Elks Lodge board member Clinton Heim was a first time volunteer for the event, but stepped into the role nicely, vocalizing positivity for each of the shooters that he worked with.

“I was a ra-ra kind of athlete. I didn't have a lot of talent, but my heart was there. So I try to spread that onto the kids and give them as much confidence as I can for them,” Heim said. “They have a lot of pressure and I am trying to ease them down. I am having fun and I want them to have fun. That is all just part of it, to have fun.”

Clinton Heim helping out at the district level Hoop Shoot competition. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Heim has been part of the Elks Lodge for over 15 years.

On the sidelines were parents also doing their part to encourage the kids. Mike Staudinger, the father of Sam Staudinger, third place winner of the 10-11 boys group, proudly cheered his son on and provided comical relief to those around. He recalled doing the hoop shoot challenge when he was a boy himself.

“It's exciting and fun to watch because it has kind of gone full circle,” Staudinger said. “He is a much better free-throw shooter than I was when I was his age so it's good to see that he didn't inherit my free-throw shooting abilities.”


District Hoop Shoot contest took place at the Trinity High School gymnasium(Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Though last year’s Hoop Shoot didn’t have a state and national competition due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dickinson Elks Lodge kept the nearly 50-year-old tradition alive at the local level.

“Last year we were only able to do the local competition, which was fun, but it ended there so it's nice to get to the next level,” Reger said. “The kids love it and the parents were really appreciative last year when everything was shut down.”

Last year both the Glasser brothers, Charlie and Riley, took first place in their age group division and placed again this year. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

This year's top three received medals, with the first place contestant also receiving an Elks Lodge logoed basketball, a $50 Elks Lodge gift certificate and a spot to compete at the state level.


This year's top three received medals, with the first place contestant also receiving an Elk Lodge logoed basketball, a $50 Elk Lodge gift certificate and a spot to compete at the state level. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)


8-9 boys winners:

1st - Jace Praus

2nd - Braden Krebs

3rd - Miles Benson

8-9 girls winners:

1st - Esmae Helmer

2nd - Raelynn Gullickson

3rd - Olivia Doe

10-11 boys winners:

1st - Riley Glasser

2nd - Payton Freer

3rd - Sam Staudinger

10-11 girls winners:

1st - MaCada Christensen

2nd - Emily Grist

3rd - Landry Steffes

12-13 boys winners:

1st - William Grist

2nd - Daniel Hoerath

3rd - Charlie Glasser

12-13 girls winners:

1st - Taylor Sonsalla

2nd - Meadow Olsonawski

3rd - Donna Rose McMurtry

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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