Hoop Shoot Committee
The Elks National "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Program is open to all boys and girls, ages 8 through 13. All public and private schools within the jurisdiction of the local Elk Lodge are invited to participate in the Elks National "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Contest. Depending on interest, many school districts may participate in the Lodge contest.
The six Lodge Champions, one boy and one girl in each age-group, will advance to a District contest. A typical District contest may have from five to 12 lodge entries in each category and age-group. The six finalists in each District contest will advance to the State finals. The State Champions will compete at a Regional contest to determine the contestants that will compete at the National Finals. Your local "Hoop Shoot" Director can tell you the number of lodges and districts in your state and the states that make up your region.
The Elks’ nationwide sanctioned program gives youngsters an opportunity for spirited competition, fine relationships with their peers, and travel statewide, regionally and nationally at minimal expense to their parents or school. The parents of finalists at the state, regional and national levels attend the competition as guests of the Elks.
History of the Hoop Shoot
First, we ask that you permit us to give you a brief history of basketball, then we'll tell you all about the Elks Hoop Shoot Program.
The game of basketball began in the winter of 1891, at the Young Men's ChristianTraining School in Springfield, Massachusetts. The game's inventor was a faculty member, Dr. James Naismith, who was simply looking for a new sporting activity to give students something worthwhile to fill the void between the Football and Baseball seasons. Thus it was in December of 1891 that Dr. Naismith put his new idea into actual practice: with not even an inkling of just how big the new physical activity would become.
Naismith began his initial "Basketball" game by splitting his class members into two separate teams, while the school janitor brought in a pair of peach baskets that Dr. Naismith designated as "goals." These "goals" would facilitate the scoring for the new sport, while two students, Frank Mahan and Duncan Patton, were then given the task of choosing up sides. Thus, the first Basketball game in history began, and it fell to William R. Chase, a youngster from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to be the person who scored the initial and only goal of the contest. Dr. Naismith had also devised thirteen rules for his new sport, and although many changes have taken place since 1891, five of his rules remain in operation.
But the first game in Basketball's history was a truly defensive one, and the final score was 1-0. Actually, the first "official" basketball game took place on January 12, 1892, and Dr. James Naismith's new game would become famous the world over. It has also given the B.P.O.E. it's most popular youth activity, so please allow us a few minutes to tell you more about our "Hoop Shoot" and how it began.
The Elks Hoop Shoot Competition was begun as a local Elks Lodge event in Corvallis, Oregon, No. 1413 in the late 1960's, and in 1970 was instituted by the Oregon Elks as a statewide Youth Activity while native son Frank Hise was serving as Grand Exalted Ruler. The Oregon Elks State Association saw nearly 100,000 kids participate in a "boys-only" format in age brackets 8 to 9 years, 10 to 11 years and 12 to 13 years ---- and while this is how it is still done to this day as far as the age groups are concerned, girls have been included since 1974 and shoot in their own gender categories according to the aforementioned age brackets.
All Pennsylvania Elks Hoop Shoot contestants are given a brief warm-up period before they begin their quest to sink as many as possible of 25 shots from the foul line. Ties are frequent and all are broken by giving each of the participants an equal number of extra shots until one wins. Since we have three distinct age categories, a child's birthday is very critical in determining what age bracket an entrant will compete in. All these rules will be made quite clear prior to sign-up at the local level.
It was during Grand Exalted Ruler Francis M. Smith's administration in 1972 that the committee was asked to attempt Oregon's Hoop Shoot on a national basis; the result being 24 happy young men shooting from eight Elks regions at Kansas City, MO. The next year saw the addition of another region and this time 27 sharp shooting boys were competing in the National Hoop Shoot Finals. Gerald L. "Getty" Powell was appointed as the first National Hoop Shoot Director in 1972, and his guidance and devotion to young people was a driving force in the rapid expansion of the Elks Hoop Shoot. "Getty" Powell was a proud, dedicated and active member at the Peru, Indiana, Elks Lodge No. 365, and his accomplishments are too numerous to list here.
Powell was replaced in 1979 by another equally talented and devoted Elk, Emile J. Brady of the Danville, Pennsylvania, Elks Lodge No. 754. A Past State President of our Association, Emile began what proved to be a quarter of a century of service to the Hoop Shoot --- and the Elks program saw its biggest growth in that same time frame. Under Emile's guidance, always with his gracious wife, Joy, at his side, this program became the premier youth athletic event of its kind in these United States of America.
By 1975 the Elks had also included the National Winners names on a beautiful plaque that hangs permanently in the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. This is where all National Winner have their names engraved, and this section of the Hall of Fame was dedicated for the Elks in 1976 by Grand Exalted Ruler George E. Klein. Today, the Elks Hoop Shoot Program is the largest such event in America and we see well over a million kids, male and female; participate across the country each year. The national shoot-off is now held every April in the most appropriate spot, the Hall of Fame, and brings kids, Elks and families together for two days to show how friendly competition can build character and confidence.
Emile J. Brady retired from his National Hoop Shoot responsibilities in 1997, and not only has he left us with the most successful Elk program in history, but the lives he touched with his visionary ability and managerial skills will live on for future generations who like the thrill of competing one-on-one.
The Hoop Shoot competition here in Pennsylvania's eight districts and almost 100 Elks Lodges begins in the late fall and early winter and consists of local contests, with the winners of these events representing those Lodges at their district Hoop Shoot. These district winners then advance to the State Finals, presently held at State College High School in State College, Pennsylvania, each March; the winners here have their names engraved on the Pennsylvania Elks Hoop Shoot plaque in State College. Expenses are paid for the winning players and those who score highest in one of the six bracket titles then advance to the Regional Hoop Shoot in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Here they compete against the best free throw shooters from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Should you claim a victory in Wilkes-Barre, then you and your family will be headed to Springfield, MA, in April for the National Hoop Shoot finals at the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame PLUS a chance to see your name engraved for all time on the Elks Hoop Shoot plaque that hangs there permanently.
State Committee Members
Pittsburgh (South Hills), PA #2213
District Committee Members
Margie Brouse (Chair)
Ashland, PA #384
Kathy J Kendall (Chair)
Chambersburg, PA #600
South Central #7800
Sharon, PA #103
Carnegie, PA #831
Samuel D Haynes (Chair)
Bloomsburg, PA #436
Christopher Altmeyer (Chair)
Pittsburgh (South Hills), PA #2213
Oakmont, PA #1668