PINE BLUFF, Ark. – After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the King Cotton Holiday Classic is returning to the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Championship level high school teams from across the nation arrived Wednesday at Clinton National Airport from as far away as California and New York.
This tournament was once recognized as the nation’s most prestigious high school tournament.
The group Go Forward Pine Bluff is bringing it back as a way to attract visitors to the town.
According to the tournament director, sponsors invested more than 600-thousand dollars into arena improvements at the Pine Bluff Convention Center just for this event.
That includes a brand new floor, new video scoreboards, marquee, message boards, exterior enhancements, concession stands, restrooms and locker rooms.
“King Cotton is the best example of what can happen when a community comes together on the same accord working together for one common cause,” says Samuel Glover, Director. “Springboard for what’s happening in Pine Bluff as we move forward into the next phase in restoration and reno of Pine Bluff.”
The tournament features 8 teams – double elimination style. Two of the 8 teams are from Arkansas – those being Pine Bluff and Jacksonville high schools.
Officials want people to attend and support the relaunch by offering ticket prices from $8 dollars to $40 available online or at the door and the games will be streamed live on the tournament’s Facebook page – all starting tomorrow.
King Cotton Classic officials were on hand to welcome the teams to Arkansas before driving them to the convention center for an orientation, some community service projects and a highly anticipated skills competition.
“When coach told us we were going to come down here to Arkansas, we felt like it was going to be a good opp for us to get some decent exposure and I feel like my team is going to win it all,” says Tyrus Crawford, senior power forward, Landry Walker High – New Orleans.
“It was a #1 team in the country and to bring it back like this is special for y’all and we’re just glad to be a part of it,” adds Ralph Barreras, Head Coach Houston Math, Science and Technology Center, the #1 seed.
The 3-day tournament begins tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.