College basketball in the Pine River Valley?
Yep, and two former Ignacio Bobcat standouts will be playing.
The 2015 Heartland Conference Challenge will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, at SunUte Community Center.
It promises to bring top Division II teams to a town that is already crazy about basketball, said Johnny Valdez, the event organizer and a longtime player and coach in the area.
There will be two games each night between Fort Lewis College, Western New Mexico University, Texas-Permian Basin University and St. Mary's University of San Antonio.
Playing on the FLC squad are Alex Herrera, an NCAA preseason All-American standout, and Ryan Brooks.
Tickets are $25 per person per night, and all proceeds benefit the IHS basketball program. The teams and Boys and Girls Club will be running the concessions, as well. The college players also will be visiting local classrooms and talking with students.
Tickets are available at The Patio in Ignacio.
Valdez is seeking $100 sponsorships from local businesses to distribute four tickets to students in Bayfield, Ignacio and Pagosa Springs. The games already are about halfway sold out, so he recommends buying tickets early because they might not be available at the door.
On the Friday schedule are Western New Mexico and Texas-Permian Basin at 5 p.m., and FLC vs. St. Mary's at 7 p.m.
Saturday's games are New Mexico vs. St. Mary's at 5 p.m. and Ft. Lewis vs. Texas at 7 p.m.
To sponsor the student tickets, call Valdez at 799-1580.