Neosho Holiday Classic Benefits Basketball Players and Business - KOAM TV 7

Neosho Holiday Classic Benefits Basketball Players and Business Community


The Neosho Holiday Classic basketball tournament  is a sixty-three year tradition that some say pays off big for the community.  But it is also calling attention to a  business need.

Tournament Draw

A basketball game  that pitted McDonald county against Van Buren Arkansas is one of many in the 63rd Annual  Neosho Holiday Classic
"We have twenty-four teams this year: sixteen  boys, eight girls," said Justin Branham, president of Branco, which is underwriting the tournament.
The farthest team traveled  from Brooklyn, New York while others came from Houston, Kansas City and several from  Tennessee. Players and fans are providing a financial boost to the city.
Branham said it can be hard to gauge but explained,
"Economic development
kind of puts the numbers that we've ran at  anywhere between one hundred fifty thousand up to half a million dollar impact. It’s one of those things that’s hard to track but we literally have every hotel room  in Neosho.”

Currently that’s only two hundred sixty rooms. And the tournament books  three hundred forty calling attention to the need for more local  hotels.
Lauri Lyerla, the executive director of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce said that’s something being researched already. “Our economic development and retail  committees are working hard on making that happen. We've had a lot of inquiries from hotel chains. I think  in the very near future we'll be able to fill more of those rooms here in town,"  she said,

And Branham is hopeful it happens. "We've got a lot of prime  real estate out near the highway and we’re hoping we get another hotel in here before next year,  so that we can keep it all local.”

While Branco, as underwriter,  picks up the tab for players and coaches rooms,   coaches will tell you there's plenty of spending that happens before and after the games. 

John Mackey is the assistant coach from Bentonville West in Arkansas. He explained, “First of all you got to feed boys. And high school boys eat. Just when you think you've fed um enough, they're hungry again so   that’s your number one cost food.” Good for area restaurants.  

Les Rainwater, who owns Family Market said the tournament doubles his lunch counter business.
 "It helps us all.  Hotels, motels everything.  Gas stations, convenience stores and it’s great for the kids. It’s great for our kids in this area to see some of the talent from outside the area." 

And the event is big money for the school booster club and concession stands. Mark Daugherty, the golf coach said, "Just the concession stands will make several thousand dollars. It's a big deal for us."
Bringing in dollars for all Neosho teams so players like Daugherty’s take part in working the event.”

And Branham agreed, "It does take a small village.  There's a lot of people that work it, from the school, from Branco, people in the community. It is a full community effort."

Coaches say the tournament is a great opportunity for players to face unfamiliar teams that might have unique playing styles.

Game Brackets
          Fans flock to the dunk and three point contest which happens Friday night. For a complete schedule for the tournament brackets you can download an app for i-phones or at Google play called Exposure basketball and link to the Neosho Holiday Classic.


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