MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - It all started with a three-on-three basketball tournament on his backyard.
Eighteen players who put $1 each in a hat. Six teams of three players. The winner team took the prize money.
That’s how Scott “Gus” McNeal described how the Gus Smacker started, as he stood in front of Meridian Township announcing that the event would be coming to Meridian Mall.
Together with Deborah Guthrie, 175th Event Coordinator and Meridian Township Communications Director, McNeal showed his enthusiasm that the tournament would be in the center of Michigan.
Gus Macker will happen on July 14-16.
Participants and teams will be paired with opponents of their ages and physical abilities.
McNeal said that because the three-on-three games are played on a half court, people with all levels of physical fitness can participate and have fun.
Okemos High School Athletic Director Ira Childress said he is excited for the students at Okemos to participate in an event where they will interact with the community.
The cost of participating will be $140 per team, and the organizations benefitting from the basketball-filled weekend are the Haslett and Okemos Athletic Boosters and the Mankowski’s Christmas Party for Kids.
Not only are people donating to a greater cause, but the tournament is focusing on having fun and spending time with family and the community.
Participants not only get to play with their peers, but they also will have the opportunity to meet new people.
McNeal said he liked the games would happen at Central Park Drive (behind Meridian Mall, between Marsh and Okemos Roads), because he is a “mall rat,” and because it will have more to do than simply watching or playing basketball.
Visitors will also be able to eat, shop and walk around the mall.
More information can be found at www.gusmacker.com, and registration opens in February.