Harlem Wizards return to Steamboat for basketball fundraising event
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For one night, all Steamboat Springs basketball lovers will jam into one gym.
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the Harlem Wizards will take to the court at Steamboat Springs High School’s Kelly Meek Gym as a fundraiser for both the boys and girls high school basketball teams as well as High Altitude Basketball.
In the spring of 2018, High Altitude Basketball, a nonprofit program that offers recreational and competitive basketball programs to players of all ages, brought in the Wizards. This year, the nonprofit is partnering with the Sailors boys and girls basketball teams. The funds raised will be split among the three programs.
The event sold out last year, and High Altitude Board President Leon Rinck thinks the event will sell out again. The game starts at 6 p.m., and doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are sold online and at Treasures and Tees.
“It was a fun community event the last time we did it. They’re kind of a Harlem Globetrotters type of team,” he said. “They do a lot of fun crowd interactions.”
Three quarters of the night will not be in traditional basketball format. The Wizards will bring audience members onto the floor, perform tricks and hit crazy shots.
A quarter of the night will be actual basketball though, with the visiting Wizards facing local staff members, including High Altitude board member and Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball coach Michael Vandahl. Rinck said girls basketball coach George Ibarra, and a few alumni will also partake in the game.
What: Harlem Wizards
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13
Where: Steamboat Springs High School gym, 45 Maple St.
Tickets: Purchase online or at Treasures and Tees
Vandahl participated the last time the Wizards came to town and is excited to get involved again.
“It’ll be a cool experience. It’s really the big players of basketball in the community,” Vandahl said. “It’ll be pretty cool to raise money and give back to those programs.”
The fundraiser will help High Altitude continue to offer the only youth basketball programs in the area.
“This is our one and only fundraiser,” Rinck said. “We do some small things, but this is our big fundraiser of the year. This really helps. We have recreational programming for the kids. We also have a competitive arm. This helps offset some of our scholarship needs. … We want to be able to offer basketball for everyone who wants to play.”
Proceeds from the event will help the high school teams secure supplemental funding to help bolster the quality of the programs.
“I can’t speak for the girls, but for (the boys high school team), summer camps are really expensive for us to travel to,” Vandahl said. “Transportation costs and lodging, but they’re important for us, so we spend money there. It gives us flexibility to buy stuff for the program.”
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