The Harlem Ambassadors basketball team is coming to Ashcroft at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 1; and anyone looking for a great evening of fun, comic antics, and slam-dunk action will want to be at Desert Sands Community School to watch some supremely talented basketball players take on a team of sporting local players.
“The Ambassadors are the amateur version of the Harlem Globetrotters,” says Karma Kubbernus, president of the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club. The event is a fundraiser for the club, and Kubbernus says they were attracted to it because “it’s something out of the norm, and it’s something that will appeal to everyone.”
The Ambassadors were formed in 1997 by sports management and marketing executive Dale Moss, who wanted to provide non-profit and community service groups with a comedy basketball show they could use as a fun, family-friendly fundraising event. Kubbernus says that the Ambassadors came to the attention of Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary last fall, when the team reached out to all the Rotary clubs in the district.
“They said ‘This is what we can do’ and asked if we were interested. We jumped on it quickly so we could launch it early and sell tickets over Christmas.” Some 70 tickets have been sold so far, with 200 tickets available. “We’d like to see the event sold out,” says Kubbernus.
The Harlem Ambassadors team is made up of young African-American men and women who have played college basketball, earned college degrees, are talented comedians and good basketball players, and who are good citizens and positive role models for kids.
The last two points are important for the Ambassadors, who speak to youth in the communities they play in about the importance of staying in school and staying off drugs. The players encourage students to set goals, show good moral character, respect themselves and others, not be a bully, and avoid negative influences like drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure. The team will be addressing an assembly at Cache Creek Elementary School on May 1.
The Ambassadors take part in more than 220 events per season, and have performed in 20 different countries. They also entertain troops at U.S. military bases in the United States and overseas.
The Ambassadors play teams made up of participants from the local community, which provides spontaneity and makes each show unique. On May 1 they will be up against the Cache-Croft Court Jesters, and among the game locals taking part are Greg Blain, Damian Couture, Patty Kinvig, Juanita Little, Richard Ranta, Steve Rice, and Vicky Trill, with a few surprise players also on the roster.
Rotary will be operating a concession at the event, and there will also be a Harlem Ambassadors team shop selling memorabilia and souvenirs. After the match, team members will do an autograph signing, and will be happy to sign items (as long as they do not have another team’s logo on them, so leave your Kamloops Blazers jersey at home).
Kubbernus says that the Ashcroft stop is one of only three Ambassadors events in British Columbia during the current tour; the other two are in Oliver and Lake Country. “We wanted to make sure they weren’t doing another event close to us.
“Their main goal is to provide entertainment, and they’re very good role models. This is going to be fun for the whole family.”
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They can be purchased online through the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Rotary Club’s Facebook page (Rotary Club of Ashcroft Cache Creek) or at Interior Savings Credit Union in Ashcroft.