O'Kelly's to host Gus Macker launch party Thursday


O’Kelly’s Sports Bar and Grille will be hosting the CMU Gus Macker launch party 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.

This celebration kicks off the 6th annual 3-on-3 Gus Macker basketball tournament, an event with history dating back to 1974. 

The party also serves as a fundraiser to boost revenue for the tournament. There will be a silent auction with more than 75 items for bid and a 50/50 raffle in partnership with United Way — Isabella and Gratiot County’s biggest fundraising program dedicated to ending generational poverty. 

This year’s party will be Dr. Seuss-themed. It will feature specialty food and drink items with purchase of a $3 wristband. Some specialty items include: Cheese Trees (mozzarella sticks), Who Hash (loaded tater-tots), Beezulnut Splash (well double), and Goose Juice (coke products) and others that have adopted colorful Seuss-style names. 

The tournament was started by 1979 CMU graduate Scott McNeal when he gathered 18 friends in his neighborhood in Lowell. Since then, the tournament has become the largest 3-on-3 organization in the world. 

“Because he’s a CMU grad, we wanted to bring the event back on campus,” said Recreation and Event Management faculty member Tim Otteman. “I was there at the first one with other (recreation) students doing score keeping and timing.” 

The Gus Macker at CMU is organized by the RPM 333 class named Production of Festival and Events. CMU is the only university in the nation that runs a Gus Macker tournament with undergraduate students, Otteman said. 

Players can win a custom-made Gus Macker trophy for coming in first, second or third place at the tournament. Teams that lose their first two games will compete for another award — the coveted toilet bowl trophy. 

“This is a neat way to break the winter blues and support not only student-run events, but also our community partners as well,” Otteman said. 

CMU students can sign up for the Mount Pleasant tournament by visiting the Gus Macker website. Sign up fees are $148 per team of four, the online deadline is April 8.