Hoops, Dreams and Goals set for this Friday

The first year West Texas Centers hosted Hoops, Dreams and Goals, no one expected it to become a yearly event.But the wildly popular basketball tournament has become a tradition at West Texas Centers with no chance of it going away any time soon.“I would say within the first hour, we were already talking about next year,” said Rodney Jones, West Texas Centers Chief Developmental Health Officer.Hoops, Dreams and Goals is in its seventh year and still gaining steam.And its no coincidence it coincides with the NCAA March Madness, West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith said.“We think ours is just as much fun,” she said.The Seventh Annual Hoops Dreams and Goals 2011 competition is scheduled for March 25 at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum.The event is sponsored by West Texas Centers, Howard College, The Arc of Howard County, ALON USA, Prescription Services Inc., ViaMedia, KBST, Cox Jewelers, and Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.    Teams from the 23 counties served by West Texas Centers – the designated mental health and mental retardation authority for rural West Texas and surrounding areas, including Abilene, Midland-Odessa and San Angelo will compete throughout the day, capping off months of preparation for the competition.“One of the best things about this day is that we can get the majority of people served together in a fun environment,” Jones said.“We all have such a sense of pride watching everyone compete, and we also have an opportunity to recognize the many accomplishments our consumers have made. And for them to be able to compete and to be supported by so many people in the community encourages all of us.”“It shows the amount of drive these folks have,” Smith said.The day-long competition could not be pulled off without the countless employees and volunteers who make it work, Jones said.“It’s gotten easier every year,” Jones said.The daylong basketball competition kicks off in the morning with the Big Spring High School Drum Line followed by a welcome from Big Spring Mayor Tommy Duncan and an introduction of the honored guests, including District Judge Tim Yeats, Representative Jim Landtroop, ambassadors Russ McEwen and Joe Heflin.Teams participating in bracket play are: Big Spring Heat, Sweetwater Red Rattlers, Ballinger Longhorns, Snyder Wildkatz, Seminole Pink Panthers, Monahans/Pecos Warriors, Midland Panthers, Odessa Tigers, Abilene Chili Peppers, and the San Angelo Bobcats.Throughout the day, cheer squads from each team will perform and compete for top cheer squad. Cheer squads and the basketball teams also compete for the Spirit Stick for how much they cheer on other teams and encourage each other.“It’s definitely something everyone looks forward to,” Jones said.The event is free and open to the public. More than 1100 people are expected to attend the event.For more information, call Amy Vidal at 432 263-0007.