The 2016 Rocky Mountain State Games will present a special celebration on the Fourth of July of the combined 125th anniversaries of the city of Woodland Park and the invention of basketball.

In fewer than 30 days, Woodland Park will get an early start on the 15th edition of the Rocky Mountain State Games with the Fourth of July 3-on-3 Basketball Classic from 9 a.m.-4 p.m adjacent to the Ute Pass Cultural Center at 210 E. Midland Ave.  The basketball tournament is part of the annual Fourth of July celebration hosted by the City Above the Clouds. There will be live music, a kids zone, beer garden, food vendors and family activities.

The Rocky Mountain State Games 3-on-3 hoops tournament will offer competition for adult men and women. The top team in each division will qualify to compete in the USA Basketball 3-on-3 National Tournament at the U.S. Olympic Training Center Aug. 26-28

The state’s largest sports festival, the state games will take place mainly on two weekends, July 22-24 and 29-31, in Colorado Springs and will offer 39 sports for athletes of all ages and skill levels, including those with physical disabilities or visual impairment.

Registration for athletes is available here along with complete information on each sport, schedules and more.

“The Rocky Mountain State Games and the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. are excited about this unique opportunity to honor a pair of significant anniversaries with an event that is growing in popularity around the world,”  Tom Osborne, Sports Corp president and CEO, said in a news release. “USA Basketball conducts its own 3-on-3 national tournament and FIBA [the International Basketball Federation] stages a World Championship for men and women that is gaining tremendous enthusiasm and participation from across the world.”

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Last year’s edition of the Rocky Mountain State Games attracted 10,133 athletes, the second highest total in the history of the games, growing from the inaugural event in 2002 that hosted 2,016 athletes, according to the news release

According to the release, “[t]he game of basketball, as we know it today, was created by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891 in Springfield, Mass., to condition young athletes during cold months. It consisted of peach baskets and a soccer ball. The objective of the game was to throw the ball into the fruit baskets nailed to the lower railing of a gym balcony. Every time a point was scored, the game was halted so the janitor could bring out a ladder and retrieve the ball. After a while, the bottoms of the fruit baskets were removed.”

The Colorado Springfield College alumni group will be hosting a social gathering in Woodland Park on July 4. Representatives from Springfield College will be receiving a special award from USA Basketball, immediately following the national anthem at around noon. Representatives from the city of Woodland Park will also participate in the awards ceremony.

This will be the 37th consecutive year that the 3-on-3 basketball tournament has been a part of the Woodland Park’s Fourth of July festivities, but it is the first year that it is part of the Rocky Mountain State Games and a USA Basketball 3 on 3 National Qualifier.