Event showcases game, community

Saturday, August 17, 2002

When Scott Porter came up with the idea of Slamfest more than a decade ago, all he expected was a nice little neighborhood gathering.

Never did he expect an event that attracted well over 1,000 spectators from the word go.

"The first year we did it, about 1,500 people showed up. It shocked me," Porter said. "Ever since then, it's taken on a life of its own."

Porter said Slamfest keeps getting bigger and better and he expects that trend to continue this weekend when the 11th annual outdoor basketball tournament is held at Indian Park in Cape Girardeau. Games begin at 8 a.m. today and Sunday, with the championship scheduled for about 5 p.m. Sunday.

"The event has just grown so much and gotten so much better over the years," said Porter, who has served as tournament director since its inception. "We've had more than 3,000 people the last few years and I expect that number, if not more, again."

The competition is strong, but basketball is only a part of what has made Slamfest so popular.

The tournament, which raises money for the House of Prayer Educational Youth Domestic Center in Cape Girardeau, features refreshment booths and a gospel concert Sunday by local choirs.

Last year's event raised about $13,000, Porter said.

"Our main goal is community unity, showing love, bringing people together," Porter said. "We've never had any kind of trouble. People just come to either play ball or watch the games."

KFC is the main sponsor of this year's event.

Porter said the talent level for the 14-team tournament should be as good as ever, with a host of past and present collegiate stars displaying their skills.

A team from Charleston is the defending champion, but Porter said there will be plenty of competition from other squads.

"It's always a pretty wide open tournament," Porter said. "You know there's going to be great basketball."

Porter said he isn't sure if there is going to be a slam-dunk contest, but there will be a 3-point contest at about 3 p.m. Sunday.


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