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Taking It to the Streets 

A world record, bus service to downtown and a little road work.

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SEVEN THOUSAND FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

The largest kidney stone ever removed weighed 21.8 ounces. The largest gathering of people dressed as gorillas totaled 637 individuals. And the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world? That’s the one in Spokane, Washington.

Hoopfest has long been the king of 3-on-3. With nearly 7,000 teams this year, it’d have to be.

But now, it’s official. Spokane’s Hoopfest is finally listed in that big book of superlatives, The Guinness Book of World Records.

It didn’t happen automatically. In fact, it was a lengthy step-by-step process. Back in early 2009, Hoopfest’s marketing manager, Kirstin Davis, submitted a request for Guinness headquarters in Britain to judge what Hoopfest already knew — that it was the biggest.

Prove it, Guinness demanded. “It was all e-mail,” Davis says. “I never had actually any personal contacts, because it’s out of London.”

So during last year’s Hoopfest, Davis sent Guinness a swarm of data and testimony. A complete players list. Documented video footage. Letters of testimony from Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. And Spokane blew away the competition. “To our knowledge, the next biggest tournament is only maybe a thousand teams,” Davis says.

Maybe it’s because of the ongoing spirit of Expo, maybe it’s the momentum of Bloomsday. But Hoopfest started with a big vision, got bigger — and ended up in Guinness. (Daniel Walters)

CATCH A RIDE

After a long day of playing at Hoopfest, you’re sweaty, exhausted and dreading that long walk back to your car. Why not hop on a shuttle instead? The STA is once again providing a Hoopfest Shuttle Service for this year’s tournament.

There will be two shuttles serving downtown Spokane, running every 10 minutes on Saturday (6 am-8 pm) and on Sunday (7 am-6 pm). If your court is on the west side of Hoopfest, park under I-90 in the Jefferson lot (near Maple and Third), then hop on for a ride that loops past River Park Square and the Davenport Hotel. Alternatively, if you want to watch games on the east side of downtown, park at the Riverpoint lots (three blocks east of Division on Spokane Falls Boulevard and Riverpoint) and ride a shuttle bus that goes as far as Riverside and Bernard.

Parking is free at both designated shuttle lots, and it costs just $1.25 for a Day Pass on each day of Hoopfest. (You can purchase passes on the bus, but bring exact change.)

The goal is to get you in and out of downtown quickly and safely. Spectators can enjoy all the action, then take advantage of the cheapest, most convenient way to get to and from the tournament. As for all those sweaty post-tournament players — well, you may want to leave some space between yourself and other passengers. Visit spokanetransit.com. (Chelsea Yanuaria)

JUST IN TIME

For the past two decades, a block on Spokane Falls Boulevard has been the central site for Hoopfest basketball courts. But the section between Washington and Stevens was nearly dropped from the list of court locations this year due to the poor condition of the road.

“This wasn’t a pothole situation,” says Hoopfest Executive Director Rick Steltenpohl. “It was ruts from tires. You want to have a surface that you wouldn’t have issues bouncing balls on. It just doesn’t lend itself to play basketball on it when it’s not flat. We played on it last year and it was OK, but roads need attention over time.”

The City of Spokane Street Department recently repaved that section of the road, which will be the home to nine out of nearly 450 basketball courts.

“It was a timing issue. We were hoping they would fix the road before Hoopfest, and we’re so thankful that they did,” says Steltenpohl. “To have courts in that area is important because it connects us to the park. That surrounding area is the core of our event.” (Chelsea Yanuaria)

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