HIBBING – Hoops on Howard, an old, fan-favorite, three-on-three basketball tournament, will be making a re-appearance in Hibbing! The tournament will be held on Saturday, Aug. 4, on our beloved Howard Street between 3rd and 5th Avenue. At 9 a.m. the tournament is set to kick off and it will continue on through the afternoon. The community is raving about the upcoming event, a former annual production the entire town would get involved with. It has been well over 10 years, but it’s finally making a comeback!
Jodi Maki of Hibbing is the coordinator of the Hibbing Area Age to Age program, a community organization that brings generations together to form relationships that break the barrier of age. Maki is also the president of the Hibbing Girl’s Hoops Club, as well a mother of two Hibbing High School student athletes. She has 15 years of event planning and working with communities under her belt, making her perfect for the Hoops on Howard coordinator position.
The idea to bring back the beloved function to our streets began when Maki’s son, Parker, casually mentioned it while planning for an Age to Age project. However, you never suggest these ideas to Jodi Maki unless you know you want it done. Maki presented the idea to the coaches of the basketball programs at the high school and they were ecstatic. That’s when the fun began.
“It hasn’t been an easy task,” said Maki. “The first order of business was searching for funding. I was grateful when the Age to Age program informed me they were ready to sign up as hosts. Then I needed to ensure both the Boys and Girls Hoops Clubs would be willing to commit to the event as well. Of course, then came the task of securing hoops that were up to the current standards. However, despite it all, everything continues to come together.”
The planning began in August of 2017, so there will be a year of work put into the tournament by the time it debuts. But Maki is not the only set of hands behind the operation.
“There are about 15 core members of the community,” she said. “Together, along with other volunteers and the Hoops Clubs, we are all working together to make the event happen. Hoops on Howard simply wouldn’t be possible without everyone who has been dedicating their time to help out. There have been so many different odds and ends, but they all continue to come together. It has been extremely helpful that the City of Hibbing has been incredibly supportive as well.”
On the day of the big event, 12 hoops will line Howard Street. There are currently 40 teams signed up, which was the goal of the committee. However, they are hoping for a few more to sign up before the July 25th deadline. Each team will consist of four people and will be categorized into one of four divisions: Girls, Women, Boys, and Men. Along with the big tournament, there will be a 3-point shooting contest and a skills team competition running all day long. These competitions are open for the public and can be signed up for on the spot.
This event is extremely exciting for Hibbing and the Iron Range alike! Hoops on Howard was very popular in the past and meant so much to this community. Big functions like this deliver numerous positive outcomes: it will bring friends and family together, it will be positive economically, and the entire Iron Range will have the opportunity to be a part of a very fun day.
Maki encourages everyone to come, watch, and cheer on all the participants on Saturday, Aug. 4.
“This is a unique event. There will be people playing basketball right on a main road in Hibbing. You don’t often see that happening elsewhere,” she said. “Whether or not someone wants to be involved in the actual tournament itself, it will be a very fun day regardless. It is completely free to the public; however, if anyone wants to sit while watching, they will have to bring their own chair. People can come to cheer teams on, visit with others, get some fun snacks, and maybe even enter the 3-point contest for a chance to win a prize if they choose to. I hope to see as many as possible join the fun and celebrate the return of this iconic event.”
As the details of the tournament continue to come together, the crew is still in need of a large number of volunteers on the day of the event. For anyone who’d like to volunteer their time, even for just an hour to support Hoops on Howard, there are plenty of positions waiting to be filled. To register, go to www.hibbingboysbasketball.org. The home page displays a link labeled “Hoops on Howard Volunteer Sign Up.”
There is a lot to look forward to—the day itself is going to be one to remember. From one fellow Iron Ranger to the next: come and support the Boys and Girls Hoops Clubs and the Hibbing Age to Age organization! It’s been a minute since the last exciting neighborhood shebang in good ol’ Hibbing.
A strong town begins with a community who’s excited about supporting their neighbors and working together for the good of the whole. There’s been much work and preparation put into this event, so, I don’t know about you, but you’ll be able to catch me there… and you can bet I’ll be the one cheering for her sister at the top of her lungs at a shamelessly obnoxious volume!
Serena Tuomi lives in Hibbing, MN. This is the tenth in a series of articles she is writing as a summer intern for Hometown Focus. Serena is a 2018 Hibbing High School and Hibbing Community College graduate. In August, she will be moving to New York City to attend The King’s College in Manhattan where she will be pursuing a degree in journalism.