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Metro Newsroom

Dirt Bowl Returns to Shawnee Park

Tuesday June 3, 2014

Teams can register starting June 5

An iconic part of summer in Louisville, The Dirt Bowl tournament returns to Shawnee Park for its 44th year later this month, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today.

The basketball competition and related community events begin June 21 and 22 and will continue on multiple weekends through Aug. 17 – which will be “Super Sunday” featuring the championship game.

“The Dirt Bowl is a true Louisville original and a great event for bringing people together to share good times and watch some world-class hoops,” Fischer said.

Local and national basketball greats who’ve played in past Dirt Bowls include Clem Haskins and Jim McDaniels, Dan Issel, Wes Unseld, Darryl Griffith and Derek Anderson.

The Dirt Bowl was inactive for a few years until 2012, when Fischer — along with community leader Neal Robertson and Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton — resurrected the tournament.

The 44th Annual Dirt Bowl will be more than just a basketball tournament and will include a job fair and health screenings plus other special events including an exhibition game between an AAU high school basketball team from South Carolina playing a team of Kentucky high schoolers in early August.

Teams wanting to compete can register starting June 5 by contacting Robertson at (502) 664-0780. Application fees are $300 per team, or $100 for women and children.

The original Dirt Bowl was created by Ben Watkins as a way to bring basketball and family-style picnics together for the good of the neighborhood and for the spirit of competition.

The city’s parks department, now called Metro Parks, helped host the first tournament in 1969 and for many years it was considered the essence of summer league basketball.