KINGSTON — The Hip Hop Hoop Shoot has grown so big, it’s going to need more rabbits.
The event once sported its own logo: a dribbling rabbit with a hip pair of sunglasses perched on its nose.
While the rabbit has been absent in recent years, it’s making its triumphant return this year — with friends.
Joe Schiel, who is Poulsbo Parks and Recreation’s activities director, said this year’s participation T-shirt, which is given to every player who is not on the championship team in his or her age group, now features three rabbits: one shooting, one passing, and one dribbling.
“It’s pretty cool,” Schiel reports.
Schiel is helping to set up this year’s even, which begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 12 with the special events: bump, hot spot, and free throw contests for competitors from third grade to high school.
At noon, the four-person teams will begin playing.
Younger kids will begin at noon in the KJH gym, Schiel said, while older kids will get started later, with seventh graders beginning between 2 and 4 p.m. and high schoolers taking the court after 4 p.m.
Last year’s Hoop Shoot featured 73 teams; Schiel hopes to get that many again (the limit is 75), when the event will push 300 participants.
While high school students participate in the double-elimination tournament, Schiel said, the focus is on the younger hoopsters.
Kids call their own fouls, he said, and while volunteers are present to keep the games moving and supervise, the entire event is for the kids, he said.
“We make the games more for the kids than an adult with a whistle, Schiel said.
He said North Kitsap’s young gym rats have been asking more and more about the event.
“More and more are getting the fire,” Schiel reported. “They want to get back in.”
The first time the Hip Hop Hoop Shoot was held, said Cy Wyse, who is one of the event’s founders, he was surprised at how many people showed up.
Wyse and hundreds of other North Kitsap residents have seen the once-a-year event grow into one of the region’s signature events, drawing rabid hoops fans from all over Kitsap County and growing in size every year.
An event that started with Wyse and seven young teens brainstorming a basketball tournament — Wyse credits the kids with the idea — now draws hundreds of players every year, as it will this weekend.
Wyse tells the story of the Hoop Shoot’s birth:
“These kids were gathered over at my daughter’s house. And they said, ‘Why don’t you do for something for us, instead of the little guys?’”
Wyse was all ears, but it was kids who came up with the idea, he said.
“They said, ‘Why don’t we have a basketball tournament?’’
The inaugural Hoop Shoot was held in the Kingston Marina parking lot. At first the event was held twice a year, but a lack of available space soon made it once a year, Wyse said.
And the event moved into Kingston Junior High and was taken over by the Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Department.
Now the tournament is ready for its 13th year of action.