Hoopfest has had its fair share of volunteers and organizers, since inception in 1990. But volunteer Craig Jones was there from day one.
Jones played in 1990 — the first year of Hoopfest — and from that founding year, Jones had been sucked in.
“I played in the first Hoopfest with Jerry (Schmidt – one of Hoopfest’s founders) and I love basketball,” explains Jones, “so my passion for the event has been everlasting. I continue to come back to help Spokane and the community and to work with such great volunteers.”
If you ever run into Jones, you could ask him about almost anything Hoopfest related and he would know the answer. He has worked in nearly all areas of the volunteer chain.
“Since I started volunteering so early in the event, I have done everything from pumping up basketballs, handing out gear, marshaling, roving marshaling to area administrator,” Jones says. “My favorite is working with the other marshals to make sure that Hoopfest is a great experience for all those involved.”
Jones has been able to watch the event grow from its first few teams to over 7,000, and he explains that the event was a different animal 28 years ago compared to today.
“I remember the first Hoopfest when there was around 20 or so courts and now how much larger it has become,” Jones recalls. “I remember for about four to five years, I was playing and marshaling the event. I would run to my game and play and then change clothes and go back to marshaling. That was really fun until my kids started playing and then I just watched them and marshaled.”
His kids are a huge part of his memory of the Best Basketball Weekend on Earth. As they have grown up and made their own impact on the court, Jones will always remember those games.
“I think being able to watch my two boys grow up with Hoopfest and play for 15+ years has been the best moments,” Jones proclaims. “Watching them compete and win their court and see such joy from basketball are memories I will always remember.”
Hoopfest is more than just players fighting it out on the blacktop. There are a plethora of volunteers needed each year who provide the participants with a fantastic experience year in and year out.
“I think that for Hoopfest to have kept the size and scope and still be such a great community event that no one has been able to replicate is truly amazing,” Jones says. “Until someone comes here and sees the event in person, they really have no idea how many moving parts and what a major feat it is to make Hoopfest run smoothly.”
Thank you to Craig Jones and his family for being such amazing supporters of our annual event and organization.
If you would like to join our team and volunteer for Spokane Hoopfest, you don’t have to wait until next summer!