GOSHEN — Kathy Chupp's four children describe their mother as a "fair freak."

"I just love the fair," Chupp said. "(My kids) don't come out here nearly as much as I do."

It's her love of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair that has led to 15 years of volunteering at the 3-on-3 basketball tournament. It's also that love that's having her step away from the tournament after it concludes Thursday night.

"I just decided that it's time. I want to enjoy the fair in a different light," Chupp said. "I've not usually gotten to go to any of the concerts because basketball is always on the same night as most of the concerts. So, I want to enjoy that and kick back.

"I'm getting older, and I want to just enjoy the fair from a different side."

Chupp does a little bit of everything for the 3-on-3 tournament. She handles the registration of teams before the tournament begins and then sets the brackets.

Throughout the four days of the tournament, Chupp keeps track of the scores of all the games. She also does the PA announcing and keeps the tournament moving at a swift pace.

"I really like it. I get a bird's eye view of both courts, it's really nice," Chupp said. "And I'm in the shade. That's the best part."

Being able to work with a veteran crew has helped Randi Yoder, the director of the 3-on-3 tournament, make the tournament run smoothly.

"Not only has Kathy been here for 15 years, but the person I took over, Ed Pippenger, had been here for 15 years," Yoder said. "I really got to come into a veteran team that has established and kept the tradition of this basketball tournament going."

Chupp started volunteering when her kids began playing in the tournament. Chupp grew up playing basketball, as she suited up for Bethany Christian High School and collegiately at Eastern Mennonite University.

"I just love the fair and I wanted to help, be a part of the community that is involved with the fair," Chupp said. "I think it's important to give back to the community."

Her favorite moment was when her daughter, Dana, was on a winning 10-12-year-old team.

"They got their little plaque and I was so proud. I was out there with the rest of the parents taking their pictures," Chupp said.

Chupp also loves the slam dunk contest, which has become a tradition following the championship games of the 3-on-3 tournament Thursday night.

"I always enjoy watching the slam dunk (contest). Watching the guys do the slam dunk contest is a highlight every year," she said.

Chupp's fair-going experience goes beyond just her 15 years volunteering at the basketball tournament. She's been going to the fair her whole life and has seen it evolve into one of the biggest county fairs not only in Indiana, but in the United States.

"It has grown so much and there has been so much more involvement, more people being involved with volunteering," Chupp said. "I know we would not have near as awesome of a fair as we do now if we didn't have all the volunteers that help with this.

"It's what makes the fair great and a reason why we're one of the top in the nation."

Yoder says losing Chupp's knowledge is what will hurt the most.

"Her knowledge of keeping us organized, of keeping all the teams straight. Her knowledge and awareness of the players, the coaches," Yoder said.

Chupp has created a lot of memories with the 3-on-3 tournament. She knows it will be tough to move on.

"I'm going to miss the people that I work with. I've gotten to know a lot of the players over the years and they've been friends with my kids," Chupp said. "Missing the players and the people I work with are the main things I'm going to miss.

"I might even have to come back out here, get my feet wet again if I have too many withdrawals."

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 325. Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinHoughTGN

3-ON-3 BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT RESULTS — WEDNESDAY

BOYS 16-18 (10 teams)

First round: Team Phillips def. Team Devine 18-14; Team B. Miller def. Team Charles 18-11

Second round: Team A. Miller def. Team J. Schrock 18-15; Team Erekson def. Team Phillips 18-9; Team B. Miller def. Team Sharick 18-16; Team Stoltzfus def. Team Shetler 18-14

Semifinals: Team A. Miller vs. Team Erekson; Team B. Miller vs. Team Stoltzfus; both games are Thursday, 6 p.m.

Finals: Winner of semifinal #1 vs. winner of semifinal #2; Thursday, 7:40 p.m.

MEN 19 YEARS AND OLDER (13 teams)

First round: Team Willard def. Team Gingerich via forfeit; Team Martin def. Team Miller 18-13; Team Stichter def. Team Lantz 18-15; Team Randolph def. Team Beaver 18-2; Team DeShone def. Team Lee 18-14

Second round: Team Emerick def. Team Willard 18-15; Team Martin def. Team Wenger via forfeit; Team Randolph def. Team Stichter 18-14; Team DeShone def. Team B. Robinson 18-12

Semifinals: Team Emerick vs. Team Martin; Team Randolph vs. Team DeShone; both games Thursday, 6:25 p.m.

Finals: Winner of semifinal #1 vs. winner of semifinal #2; Thursday, 8:05 p.m.

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