The Gus Macker will be held for the fourth straight year at Betts Park this May, the weekend of the 17th and 18th.
The founder of the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Scott McNeal, picks a different venue each weekend to visit his creation in action, and each year he finds himself back in the county for sign-ups in Youngsville on Thursday.
"I love the area," said McNeal. "After Jamestown decided to hold their own tournament, we knew that Warren would be able to deliver a great product to the same demographic of southwestern New York, and northwest Pennsylvania. And the venue in Warren is just awesome, being down by the river and the family atmosphere is exactly what I wanted when I started this.
Times Observer Photo by Toby Keller
Five-year-old Deirdre Nelson gives “Gus” a hug on Thursday at the Gus Macker sign-ups at Tops Market in Youngsville, with John Papalia Jr., background left, of the WCCBI, and Macker founder Scott McNeal. Registration for the 3-on-3 tournament May 17 and 18 at Betts Park in Warren can be done online, www.macker.com, and closes on April 28.
Some Macker tournaments rely on paid personnel to officiate games and run the bracket tent. Warren has worked with volunteers in the past, but this year will be different. John Papalia Jr., of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry (WCCBI), agrees that finding volunteers is one of the biggest challenges, but he believes it helps give the tournament the right feel.
"We are very fortunate that people in the community step up and help," said Papalia. "It's gotten bigger and better every year, and we want to bring traffic from outside the town. We are offering $150 for those willing to referee for the entire weekend. It's a tough position to be in, but those in the past have done great, and we expect the same this year."
Unlike previous years, BurgerFest will not be adjoined to the tournament. Instead, a variety of food vendors will be available.
"The Macker name evokes a sense of quality and consistency," said McNeal. "We play with better baskets, better balls, and we've really tried to be the Cadillac of 3-on-3 tournaments, first class all the way."
Registration for the Gus Macker costs $132 per team, and the deadline to register is April 28. All inquiries can be taken to www.macker.com.