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How Did Gus Macker Get Its Start in Quincy?

The year was 1974. The city was Lowell, Michigan. The location was Scott McNeal’s driveway. The participants were 17 of his friends. Combine all that and you had the start of Gus Macker, but how did it get to Quincy?

McNeal, Mr. Gus Macker, was in Quincy earlier this month to share the story of Macker’s beginnings with the Quincy Exchange Club. The additional parts of the story go like this. Scott, who’s nickname is Mac (now you know the name’s origin), set up a basketball tournament in his driveway with 18 players each (including himself) paying one dollar to play. The eventual winner got the $18 bucks.

Gus Macker
Jeff Dorsey

The idea flourished to the point where the tournament moved to Belding, Michigan and took to the road because of a tremendous demand from communities outside of the home base. Since 1987, the Macker Tournaments have expanded, holding both indoor and outdoor tournaments in over 75 cities and with over 200,000 players and 1.7 million spectators enjoying 3-on-3 competition and family fun each year.

So how did it get to Quincy? Well, Exchange Club member Mike Lavery heard about Macker and went to visit a Macker Tournament in Decatur, Illinois. After witnessing it for himself, he proposed that the Exchange Club hold a Gus Macker tournament in Quincy. That was 24 years ago and the rest is history.

Gus Macker is the Exchange Club’s largest fundraiser and has raised thousands of dollars which go right back into the community. While in Quincy, McNeal announced that this year’s Gus Macker in Quincy will feature for the first time registered referees as Gus Busters. The third place teams will also receive medals instead of trophies and all awards will have the name Quincy on them.

The Gus Macker 3 on 3 Tournament is set for May 24 and 25 in Quincy with team signups underway now at

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