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Posts by gjohnson

Melvin McLaughlin

“Sugar” was the dominant Top Men’s Division player starting in the early Lowell days. He played at Grand Rapids Creston High School and Central Michigan University. He hit the famous “Hindenberg Shot” to win the 1982 championship in Lowell. He is still making jump shots in recreation basketball, and has popular skills clinics he produces…

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Alex Wolff

Alex, a premier writer for Sports Illustrated Magazine, played in the 1984 Gus Macker in Belding. A year later he wrote the story that appeared in SI and helped launch Gus Macker into national prominence. That story is credited with leading Macker into developing the national tour of today.

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Miss Elizabeth’s Fan Club

Miss Elizabeth’s Fan Club dates back to 1989 when four men who worked in different roles at a school in San Diego – Jerry Fike, Richard Paff, Ralph Mora and Bernard Balaney – suited up to play in a local Gus Macker World Tour stop. The team, named for the late Miss Elizabeth (Hulette, 1960-2003),…

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Rick Thomson

Rick Thomson is the “Nickname Originator.” Yes, he was the guy who gave Scott McNeal the nickname “Gus Macker.” It happened when they were both in the seventh grade. Thomson was one of the original driveway players, of course, and played in that famous first tournament in 1974. Thomson, a true original Macker character, made…

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Orloe and Mary Ann Gwatkin

Orloe and Mary Ann Gwatkin were neighbors of the McNeal family, and they are remembered in Mackerville for three things. They had the first rented port-a-john installed in their yard as the tournament started to outgrow the Lowell driveway. The lights installed on the pole in their backyard would light up the original driveway court…

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Tom LaMonde

Tom, the guy with the long blonde hair, became known as the “Georgia Gunner.” He was a longtime McNeal family friend who grew up in Lowell and then moved to Georgia just prior to high school. He would fly the friendly skies to return to Lowell and Belding to play in Macker tournaments.

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Chippewa Pride

They were the first dominant Top Men’s Division team loaded with former Central Michigan standouts from Grand Rapids in Val Bracey, Tim Bracey and Leon Guydon. They were coached by this kid, who is still coaching. His name – Tom Crean.

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The Frankovich Family

The Frankovich Family, a.k.a. “The Frankies,” proudly hailed from Sharon, Pa., and traveled across the country to numerous Macker tournaments. They had a tradition of making a basket on every hoop set up for each Macker they visited prior to the tournament starting. Yes, they came to Belding for the record turnout year of over…

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Belding City Council and City Manager of 1987

When the move from the original home in Lowell became necessary, the 1987 Belding City Council and City Manager stepped up. They accepted the Macker despite its last-minute move and supported the “home” tournament. Belding remains the home of the original tournament, and is the site of Macker’s World Headquarters. The council members in 1987…

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Russ Bartz

Russ played with the Parini’s Pasta Palace team for several years in Macker tournaments. His landmark achievement was leading his team to the first-ever Toilet Bowl Championship in Macker history. He reportedly covets his amazing trophy for the incredible accomplishment.

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