COLMAN, S.D. (KELO) — A basketball event in eastern South Dakota is set to reach a notable milestone.

The annual Michael J. Entringer Scholarship Classic helps raise money to fund college scholarships for high school seniors. The idea came from Dan McAdaragh, John Bjorkman and Pete Entringer.

“We talked about it and getting started, and I know my dad told my mom, ‘get the checkbook,’ so she went and got the checkbook, and my dad gave $500 to start this classic,” Pete said.

That $500 was split into two $250 scholarships awarded in 1994. Now, $1,000 scholarships are given to 50 to 60 high school seniors each year. Organizers are set to hit the $1 million mark this school year for the total amount given out in scholarships since it started.

The event is named after Pete’s brother Mike Entringer, who died unexpectedly in 1990.

“I reffed with Mike from the very beginning. We reffed for 13 years together, and you know, to see the people that have jumped behind it to help out. It means a lot. Some days it brings tears to my eyes because you know people involved with it and are gung-ho to help do it,” Pete said.

Mike’s son Aaron, who used to play basketball in the event, has become heavily involved with the event that continues the basketball legacy his father left him.

“This is for my dad and it means a lot. It’s a great honor because he was an official and his colleagues wanted to do something for him. Just to carry it on means a lot to me and my family and everyone else,” Aaron said.

The Entringer Classic started in 1994 with only boys teams, and the girls classic was added four years later.

The first event included six boys teams. There are now 20 girls basketball teams as well as 20 boys teams competing. Each participating school is guaranteed at least two scholarships for its students.

“Some have maybe never played in a classic before, so now they get the opportunity to play in a classic,” Pete said. “You know, we give them T-shirts before the game and stuff like that, so other than the state tournament, for a lot of them, this is the highlight of their career.”

Deubrook girls basketball coach and activities director Brad DeBeer is an Entringer Classic Hall of Fame member.

“I talk to our kids about, yeah, we want to come here and win the game, and when I’m coaching our kids, we want to play well, but enjoy that you get to be here and be a part of something that’s bigger than basketball,” he said.

The boys Entringer Classic will be on Dec. 31 at Brookings High School.