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Hoopfest co-founder Rick Betts happy to continue tradition virtually

"It's all about keeping the streak going," Betts said. Betts is playing his 31st Hoopfest since helping start the festivities in 1990.

SPOKANE, Wash — The first Hoopfest began in 1990 and ever since it's been an outdoor three-on-three tournament in downtown Spokane.

Of course, that's not the case this year with the coronavirus pandemic.

After years of playing the traditional way since conceiving the idea, Hoopfest co-founder Rick Betts is playing his 31st Hoopfest virtually.

While it's different, what's important to him is keeping tradition.

"I think the virtual thing is all about keeping the streak going," Betts said.

On the first day of the 2020 competition, instead of needing all his basketball skills to compete in a game, Betts needed one.

Thursday was about dribbling and Betts admitted that isn't his strong suit.

"I'd have to turn away if I actually had to see myself do it," he said jokingly.

No matter the task, he's just happy Hoopfest can continue on in some form or fashion.

"You know basketball I guess is a huge part of the culture in Spokane and so it's important we do it every year," Betts said.

He said he sees benefits in this virtual format. Both of his grandsons are playing their first Hoopfest.

"This has been the first year where they have been excited out of their mind to play and participate in Hoopfest," he said.

However, his younger grandson, Charlie, wouldn't have been able to compete in Hoopfest this year because he'll just be entering kindergarten. It's a plus for kids of a younger age.

Besides that, Betts also thinks this year will just build the hype for when things return to normal.

"I do think there will be a lot of pent up interest in participating," he said. "Young families, friends and the reunion aspect of Hoopfest will bounce right back to the way it normally is."

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