Basketball and comedy are combining for a one-night event in Brainerd to raise money for the lakes area.
The Harlem Ambassadors Professional Show Basketball team will play the homegrown ad-hoc team dubbed the Loonee Lakers at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Brainerd High School gym. The event is sponsored by the Baxter Lions.
The Harlem Ambassadors are billed as "better than your grandfather's basketball show." The new generation promises "dazzling ball-handling tricks, high flying slam dunks and hilarious family comedy."
Dale Eberhardt and Sandy Johnson, Baxter Lions event coordinators, said all proceeds from the fundraiser will be used in the community, in most cases going to the schools or for hearing aids, eyeglasses or for families with medical needs.
The Brainerd High School athletic teams will handle concessions for the event. The AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Baxter donated rooms as an event co-sponsor.
A Harlem Ambassadors player went up for a dunk in this submitted photo. The Harlem Ambassadors Professional Show Basketball team will play the homegrown ad-hoc team dubbed the Loonee Lakers at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Brainerd High School gym as a fundraiser.
The Harlem Ambassadors team, conceived in 1998 by Dale Moss, began touring that year. The team has performed throughout the nation and for numerous military units, including deployed troops in Bosnia and Kosovo. They've raised funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina and performed before evacuees. International stops have includes tours in Asia.
The Harlem Ambassadors have gone to extremes for performances playing at an elevation of 10,152 feet above sea level in Leadville, Colo., playing at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii and performing in Barrow, Alaska. They also report playing the nearest show basketball game to the equator in 2001 when they played in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia.
The Baxter Lions came up with the Loonee Lakers to act as a foil for the Harlem Ambassadors with locals offering to play on the team. Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson is serving as a referee for the event along with Kevin Ruen. Baxter council member Jim Klein and members of the Baxter Police Department, including Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted, Assistant Chief Shane Ahrendt, Officer Matt Maier, and former member Andy Rooney, are expected to play along with Brainerd Police Officer Troy Schreifels and State Trooper LeRoy Ailts. Other players include Brad Person, E. John Raboin, John Raboin, Doug Wheeler, Denise Rauen, Gary Walters, Christian Larson, Stewart Mills III, Darren Larson, Rock Yliniemi and Ken Thomas.
If you go
The Harlem Ambassadors will play the homegrown Loonee Lakers at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Brainerd High School gym.
Advanced tickets are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. Tickets may be purchased from Baxter Lions members.
At the door, tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. Children age 4 and younger are free.
The event is sponsored by the Baxter Lions.
Players are asked to have $200 in donations from sponsors. Johnson said a couple more players are needed along with more sponsors for players who are already committed. Loonee Lakers players need to be 19 or older.
Johnson said there will be a half-time show with audience participation and autographed basketballs will be given away. The gates will open an hour before the game's 7 p.m. start time. Harlem Ambassadors will be available for autographs and conversations following the game, Johnson said.
The Baxter Lions have been involved with numerous community events, but Johnson said this is one of the biggest the club has ever done and there are hopes for a large spectator crowd.
The Baxter Lions report giving $1,100,000 back to the community since the club began in 1977, using a lot of volunteer help and working to assist people with diabetes and those with needs related to hearing and eyesight, including purchasing guide dogs for the blind.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson @ brainerddispatch.com or 855-5852.
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