The Oldtimers Basketball Tournament will begin today, with a champion in men and women’s divisions being crowned Saturday at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum.
Saturday’s games will begin promptly at 10 a.m., and the tournament will run until around 7 p.m.
The tournament is entering its second year as a way to bring back former basketball greats from around Sand Mountain to participate in a fundraiser for the Long Ranch 4 Boys in Fyffe.
There will be a $5 admission fee at the front door of the DCSC on Saturday.
After the tremendous success of an Oldtimers Football Game in which two teams were selected and divided by region, Paul Long, owner of the Long Ranch 4 Boys, said he decided to open up the field for a basketball tournament.
“The basketball game was just like the football game,” Long said. “We didn’t know if it would go over or not, and I didn’t know if I could have enough participation.”
This weekend, 17 teams consisting of more than 160 players will compete in a 26-team bracket.
Jon McCutchen, one of the organizers for the event, said every team in DeKalb County would be represented.
“Saturday we will crown a champion in the men’s under 30 and over 30 division, as well as the women’s division,” McCutchen said. “The age requirement for the teams is 19-99. The only other requirements are you can’t be a current collegiate basketball player, and you have to be out of one of the (participating) high schools.”
Long said because of the success, he extended the scope of players to include those from around Sand Mountain.
According to the Long Ranch website, the tournament benefits a ministry for boys ages 5-18 who need help in “difficult situations.”
Long said the goal of the ranch is to provide the at-risk boys with a solid family structure
Long and his wife, Kristy, have begun constructing a home for the boys to stay while they are at the ranch.
He said the ranch house is nearing its completion, and the funds collected from the game Saturday would go to the house’s general upkeep and its bills.
“We don’t take state funding, so this is really our lifeblood,” Long said. “This money — the house is nearly done — so this goes to our operating expenses. We’ll actually start taking applications for children in March.
“As far as the funding goes, we just tried to do something that wasn’t really a burden on anybody, and so that way they could just come out and have a good time.”
For tournament and donation information, visit longranch4boys.com.