A chance to travel and compete at a national level awaits area athletes who participate in the Elks Lodge annual Hoop Shoot competition taking place this Saturday.

The annual competition gives boy and girl basketball players ages eight to 13 a chance to compete to see how many free throws they can make within 25 attempts. 

The athletes compete within their age group from eight to nine, 10 to 11 and 12 to 13.

First place winners in the event advance to a district competition, which then leads to a state, regional and national level.

Hoop Shoot Director for the Elks Lodge Ken Moses said the competition is a way for athletes to represent their area while getting the chance to travel.

“The district level will be in Harlingen in January,” Moses said. “We travel wherever we need to for the competition. It’s funded through the Elks National Foundation, so it doesn’t cost the kids anything.”

Moses said there is no fee to enter the competition on Saturday, but participants must bring a birth certificate for age verification.

In the past, Moses said, there have been athletes who have gone as far as the state level in the competition.

“Even last year, three of our local competitors went to the state level in Dallas,” Moses said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to meet other kids from around the state. There are more than 250,000 kids who compete in the state at the local level that try to get to state, and by the time they get to state there are only 39 of them. So meeting the kids like themselves is pretty cool for them.”

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and will be held at the Boys and Girls Club of Kingsville at 1238 E. Kenedy Ave.

Moses said all participants will also be able to take part in a banquet in January complete with a meal and a presentation, which will also be free.

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