EAST WENATCHEE — The annual Sunburn Classic 3-on-3 basketball tournament has moved around some in its six years of existence, but now they seemed to have found a home on the streets of East Wenatchee.
Despite the moves, organizer JD Taylor said they have continued to grow. In their first year, they had 27 teams. Last year, they had 97.
“After two years, we’ve moved our tournament but we still grow. This is our third straight year of moving the tournament, but we expect the same growth we’ve been getting. Our goal is to have 500 teams registered,” Taylor said. “Right now, we’re right on target for doing a lot of good stuff.”
Taylor said they needed an area with a bigger footprint to allow them to grow the event into a festival with multiple sports. Third Street in East Wenatchee fits the bill perfectly.
“We needed a big footprint. Our previous venues were top of the line, but we just didn’t have the footprint to grow. The venue we’re at now is the best footprint we can have. We have room to grow and not really affect too many streets. We have an area we can saturate that is gorgeous. We have 26 acres of park,” Taylor said.
The city of East Wenatchee has been very accommodating, Taylor said. There is plenty of shade and numerous places to get water. They are planning on misting tents and there will be room for food vendors, which is something new.
There will be 18 courts set up on Third Street outside Eastmont High School. Getting everything set up takes some time.
“Hopefully we can sleep and take a shower before it starts. Usually, I just go into a bathroom and change with zero sleep. We have people to help us out,” Taylor said. “We’ve gotten better with our setup process. We’ve found faster ways to do it. The time we shut down the street is much earlier. We have more time and more people.”
Taylor believes the tournament is a lot of fun. A big reason for the fun is the tournament runs on time, unlike many other 3-on-3 tournaments. Typically, 3-on-3 games are not timed. Teams play a point per basket up to 20.
This way, you might have a game scheduled for 11 a.m. but might not get on the court until 1 p.m.
“For people coming from out of town, that doesn’t really work for them. They like to schedule other stuff around the tournaments when they come. If it’s a 2 p.m. game, the latest you’ll probably start is 2:02 p.m,” Taylor said. “We have a universal clock. That is our signature call. You’ll hear air horns going off. Everybody starts on the horn and everybody stops on the horn.”
Every game is 30 minutes. They play 10 minutes, then get a break. Ten minutes more and the game should be over. No matter the score, the game ends when the horn sounds. If there is a tie, that will be decided with free throws. The first team to miss, loses.
The Sunburn Classic is next Saturday and Sunday, July 27, 28. Registration is still underway. At this point, it’s unknown how many teams will be attending.
“The thing about 3-on-3, you get a bulk of your registration the last 72 hours before the registration deadline,” Taylor said. “A good example was our friends at Hot Shots last year. I talked with them a week before the deadline. There were only 45 teams registered. At the end of the day, he ended up with 507 teams.”
There are numerous categories for players depending on age and gender, from first grade all the way to adults over 40. There are competitive categories for elite players. Taylor said even if you are not very good, but love basketball, there is a division for you. Everybody comes down, plays and has fun, he said.
“The Sunburn is built for everybody to come here and see Wenatchee. The idea is to have them come back and see this great place again,” Taylor said. “We have a high percentage of teams that come from out of town for our tournament. We need to increase our numbers for our in-town teams to come play. We don’t have the in-town teams. We are working on that.”
Everything is in place for this year’s tournament to be the best ever, he said.