In 2018 Ed Costley did whatever it took to help not only bring a Licking Camp to Mexico High School, but he then put his best foot forward to find as many volunteers as possible to lend their time to the cause and did the same himself.
Now that exact same event is coming back for a second-consecutive summer on Monday and Tuesday of this week and it appears the Bulldogs Varsity Girls Basketball Coach will be playing that same role in 2019 so area athletes get the opportunity to hone their skills in a way that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
"Yes, when we first approached the Licking Camps Director David Almany he was open with the idea of having a location north," said Costley. "We hoped to continue to pull schools from the north part of the state. In July we will discuss the option of whether to continued with it annually."
This event is open to boys and girls teams and just like last year will utilize multiple locations across town. There will be one venue change from a year ago and registration generally takes place last minute because this time of year most teams are juggling a myriad of different schedules.
"We will be using High School Gyms, Mexico Middle School Gyms and Hawthorne. This will be different from last year as we used the YMCA in place of Hawthorne," Costley said. "Program director handles team registration we usually don't find out who's coming until Tuesday prior to the first date. Some teams we have heard are coming are Hannibal Girls, Jefferson City Boys, Southern Boone, North Callaway and several teams from St. Louis/Illinois area have also registered."
For the Lady Bulldogs there is a trade-off to hosting this event. By being the home team it is much easier to get parents to volunteer because of location and there is also fewer travel expenses involved. The flip side of that coin is that without the travel experience of staying in a hotel and things like that Costley says team bonding doesn't occur on nearly as deep a level.
"One reason we enjoy having this locally is it that it makes it easier for kids/parents to come and allows our community to stop in and watch area teams. Another plus it allows some of our local officials who live in Mexico to get another opportunity to work games and gain a little cash for themselves," said Costley. "We're thankful we get some parents, players and coaches who help volunteer to cover admission tables, concession tables and to run game clocks in each gym."
The cost to attend this event is $315 per team. For Mexico, because it's the host, it gets a certain number of free entries. As for the Community, the eway it benefits is several-fold.
"We also get a number of schools who come shop local restaurants and stores locally between games," Costley said. "This also helps provide for our boys and girls program to raise funds that go back into our programs either for future team purchases, or we use money for kids to help pay for summer leagues the following summer."
As of Friday this event had 10 boys teams that had entered and 22 girls squads, making it possible there might be just one day of boys competition.