LATTA — Having already tasted glory in local, district, and state competitions, Carter Kessinger captured another first-place finish March 25 when he wowed the crowds at the Elks “Hoop Shoot” Southwest Regional Championship. Carter, the 13-year-old son of Steve and Lindsay Kessinger, demonstrated accuracy from the penalty line well beyond his years and brought honors to his hometown of Latta.
Representing Ada Elks Lodge 1640, Carter, as student at Latta Elementary, sank 23 out of 25 free throws in the 12-13 year-old Boys division, making him a true standout in the field of more than 3 million boys and girls, ages 8-13, who have participated in the contest since last fall. Now, Carter will travel with his parents, courtesy of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, to Springfield, Massachusetts–the birthplace of basketball–to be among the 72 top youngsters vying for the chance to claim one of six national trophies awarded at the Elks “Hoop Shoot” National Free Throw Contest, April 28 to May 1. A great showing in the national championship will not only earn Carter a place in the Elks “Hoop Shoot” history, but also land his name on a plaque in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Now in its 39th year, the Elks “Hoop Shoot” Free Throw Contest has seen more than 110 million participants since its inception, making it the largest coeducational youth sports program in the nation. Funded entirely by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Elks “Hoop Shoot” Free Throw contest has served as a testing ground for sports legends, Olympic medalists and numerous professional athletes.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a patriotic and philanthropic fraternal organization with nearly 1 million members in more than 2,100 communities.