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Gus Macker OK'd, registration opened

Fri, Mar 11th 2016 11:45 am

By Larry Austin

Island Dispatch Editor

Registration for the 2016 Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament on Grand Island is now open following the Grand Island Town Board's approval of plans for the event.

The board voted 5-0 Monday at its regular meeting to allow the tourney, promoted by Corey McGowan Productions. During a press conference Tuesday at Fisherman's Landing, McGowan announced the opening of registration for the 2016 tourney and described some improvements to an event he called more than a hoops tourney.

 The 2016 Gus Macker tourney will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, on Grand Island Boulevard. In the announcement for the Macker, Corey McGowan Productions said the tourney is open to players of "male or female, young and old, short and tall."

The first Macker on GI went off "without a hitch last August. It was terrific," he said, and it became more than just a basketball festival, but a sports festival.

"I'm very excited for the future of the Gus Macker," McGowan said, adding that a year ago the Macker was not going to return to Western New York after a two decade run, most of it in the City of Buffalo. He said one of his main goals was to find a solution to "continuing the Gus Macker tradition."

"So last year, Grand Island was that solution," McGowan said.

2016 is the 25th year for the Gus Macker in Western New York.

"We were able to showcase Grand Island and all that we have to offer," McGowan said of the 2015 Macker. "The idea was really to showcase Grand Island as being one of the gems of Western New York and we're really looking forward to doing that again this year."

Though the event itself went off without a hitch, he said, he acknowledged that there was some opposition to the event, which held up its registration process for team signups.

The difference between 2015 and 2016 tourney is "night and day," he said, with the Town Board's support.

"Once we had it last year, now people saw the event for what it really was, they know what to expect. They know it's a really happy, fun atmosphere, so now people are looking forward to it," McGowan said.

McGowan said providing more activities beyond the 3-on-3 competition such as a free throw contest and a 3-point shootout, is a priority.

The tourney will be capped at 350 teams, about 100 more than last year, McGowan said. At four players per team, that would mean 1,400 ballers would visit the Island, not counting their fans. Last year, McGowan said players patronized national brands and businesses they knew, so this year he plans to promote to the players the availability of local vendors.

"The idea is for them to create a platform to then promote their services and gain repeat visitors," McGowan said of Island businesses.

Registration ends on May 23. To register a team, visit

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