By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
The beauty of an event going into its 41st year is that the word is already out. But it only makes sense to also take advantage of today’s digital world.
The 41st annual Wendy’s/YMCA of Southern West Virginia Biddy-Buddy All-Star Tournament will take place on its customary first weekend of March. The event will be held Friday, March 1-Sunday, March 3, at four area gymnasiums — Van Meter Gymnasium on the campus of UC-Beckley, Park Middle School, Woodrow Wilson and the Y.
Jay Rist, the Y’s CEO, said registration is going well with just under two weeks left before the start of the tournament.
“We’re shooting for 70 teams and we have commitments from 52 thus far,” Rist said last week.
One way the Y is getting the word out about its tournament is through the far-reaching tentacles of the internet. Advertisements have been placed on the various home pages of similar tournaments throughout the eastern United States.
Of course, the Biddy-Buddy is so firmly established that word of mouth and past experience also serve well. Many of the teams that have entered will be familiar names to tournament fans.
“And we’re getting some new ones,” Rist said. “We have teams from Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and, of course, West Virginia. Hopefully, we will get a few more.”
Rist played in the tournament as a youngster and believes there are a number of reasons why the event continues to be such a draw.
“I think the great thing about it is the opportunity for kids to come in and create memories that will last a lifetime while playing the sport they love,” Rist said. “I remember participating in different tournaments and still carry those memories with me today.
“It’s amazing when you think of the (future) NBA-ers we have had here,” he continued, referencing Beckley native and former New Jersey Net and Charlotte Bobcat Tamar Slay, J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic and Huntington native O.J. Mayo, now with the Dallas Mavericks. “I think that’s a reason why it remains so popular.
“The competition is there. Whether you are an AAU team or a recreational league team, you can still have success against good competition.”
Rist expressed appreciation for Wendy’s, once again the event’s title sponsor.
“Jay Kincaid and Wendy’s of Southern West Virginia are such a critical partner in making sure this event happens,” Rist said. “It is a privilege to have them on again.”
Rist also praised the work of tournament organizer Daniel Vass and his assistant, Jason Logan.
“Last year was (Vass’) rookie year with this and he’s doing well in his sophomore year,” Rist said.
For more information or to register, e-mail Vass at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Y at 304-252-0715.