“Another fun weekend of hoops in Pelican Rapids.”
That was the assessment of the milestone 25th anniversary of the basketball tourney, by founder Doug Bruggeman. The event is generally considered the premiere three-on-three basketball tournament in the two-state area.
The June 8-10 tourney attracted 275 teams, with some 1,100 players.
Adding in the entourage of families and fans, the event brings an estimated 3,500 into the greater Pelican area.
The event drew teams from North and South Dakota and throughout Minnesota. “We especially have a good pull from the Red River Valley,” said Bruggeman.
Businesses in the Pelican area reported brisk sales, and a significant economic impact. According to Bruggeman, the Shada basketball weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the summer at Zorbaz on Pelican Lake –on par with 4th of July weekend.
The weekend is a reunion for former Pelican Viking basketball players, who play in the same division for “bragging rights,” said Bruggeman, such as the contest that pitted Pelican Class of 2012 against 2014. “There were reportedly bets wagered on some of those games,” noted Bruggeman with a laugh.
There were four players that played pro basketball in Europe, noted Bruggeman. Division One level college player Levi Knutson in Colorado, who is related to the Pelican Evenson family, also played.
Will the tournament make it to the 50th anniversary milestone?
Thanks to Bruggeman’s sons, Casey and Ryan, both Pelican grads, the tourney may have an extended life.
“They have really stepped up and have been taking over some of the jobs,” said Doug. Also, both boys are well-connected among circles of college players–and help recruit referees for the tourney.
Another 50 or more volunteers work the concession stand, with proceeds going to the Pelican girls and boys basketball programs. Coordinating the concession are coaches Brian Korf and John Gullingsrud. Meanwhile, the choir and vocal music parents and students operated a second concession at the the Pelican elementary school courts.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary, the Pelican Rapids area Jaycees hosted a very well-attended street dance, with the band “Tripwire” that was a reunion of returning Pelican graduates and families.