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RANGELY I A Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored community event drew more than 250 people to the Rangely Junior-Senior High School gymnasium on March 24.
The Harlem Ambassadors, a professional show basketball team headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., combined basketball with comedy to challenge the “Rangely All-Stars,” a team of community members and chamber business owners. The show featured four quarters of play interjected with gags, games and an all-inclusive dance party.
“We have been to the Harlem Globetrotters, and I didn’t realize the (Ambassadors) weren’t part of that until we got there,” said Joann Adams, who attended with her husband, Buford, and their 14-year-old grandson. “I thought it was wonderful that they were promoting education, staying drug-free and standing up for yourself.”
Adams said that grandson Jim Adams, who wasn’t initially enthusiastic about attending, enjoyed the experience.
“I liked that they involved the kids in the audience; it was a lot of fun for the kids,” Joann Adams said. “The Ambassadors also didn’t humiliate the adults playing against them. They just had fun with them.”
The organization’s website bills the two Harlem Ambassadors teams, which travel the U.S. and overseas to perform more than 200 events between September and May, as “not your grandfather’s basketball show.”
“Everyone seemed to love it,” said Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kristen Steele. “I think the main thing was that a Monday night wasn’t ideal, but we didn’t really have a choice on that. People said they would go again if we brought them back.”
Monday morning, the Harlem Ambassadors hosted a program at Parkview Elementary School, promoting its primary messages of anti-bullying, staying off of drugs and pursuing a complete education. All Harlem Ambassadors have earned college degrees and committed to drug-free lifestyles.
“You can tell kids every day to not be a bully and not do drugs, but to hear it from someone else in an entertainment format helps kids really believe it,” Steele said.
Though the chamber initially planned the Harlem Ambassadors event as a fundraiser, its expenses and revenue were almost equal, Steele said.
In the future, the chamber will look to host the Ambassadors every other or every third year, Steele said.