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June 8, 2024

June 8, 2024 Riverpoint 3X3 Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Rio Rancho Observer, May 9 2024

"Chairball" competitors did a demonstration of their sport in the Bernalillo High School gym during halftime of the Santa Ana Thunder's game vs. Texas on April 21.

Watson keeps on rollin’, advocating for ‘chairball’

RIO RANCHO — Kipp Watson of Rio Rancho obviously took the late Jim Valvano’s advice to heart: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Watson, confined to a wheelchair with a back weakened by poliomyelitis, has been the loudest and most ardent advocate for the advancement of wheelchair basketball. He founded Rio Rancho Road Runners, LLC, here in October 2016 in an effort to promote the sport.

“Recently it occurred to me that Rio Rancho Road Runners is now one of the oldest sports teams in Rio Rancho,” Watson noted. “Imagine year after year working to teach hundreds of adventurous fans about the thrill of playing chairball. 

“Our plan to achieve nationwide professional wheelchair basketball leagues, which would open up eligibility for sanctioned tournament play to everyone, is still on track with our 10-year plan, but there have been convolutions along the way.”

Nobody knows the sport better than Watson, 73, who owns the Guinness world record for consecutive free throws made from a wheelchair — 15, set last August. He’s been making the rounds to promote the game and seeking support for almost eight years here, and he’s often been seen on the courts at Haynes Park during the mayor’s annual Sunday is Funday event, encouraging everyone to strap themselves into one of the custom-built chairs and take a spin — and take a shot or two.

Fifteen free throws in a row may not be the record for long, Watson says.

“I am exceeding my normal annual training program goals for this particular spring,” he said recently. “Last week I had a streak of 13; I usually peak around July or August. Stay tuned.”

Watson hopes to someday find enough backers to build a sports and family entertainment center that would have 6-8 hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball.

Wheelchair basketball games use the same rules as traditional basketball, emphasizing the skills of dribbling, passing and shooting.

You’d be amazed at how easy these athletes make their sport look, too, and six of them — with Watson describing who they were and what they were doing — took to the Bernalillo High School hardwood at halftime of the Santa Ana Thunder’s TBL game there on April 21.

Wheelchair basketball was developed shortly after World War II in England and the U.S. The original players were mostly wounded warriors who sought challenges and needed social outlets upon their return from the war.

Rehabilitation specialist Dr. Timothy Nugent co-founded the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, the largest sports organization supporting an adaptive sport.

“Although it might help, you don’t have to be disabled to love and promote this game with us,” says Watson.

In mid-March, Rio Rancho Road Runners teams placed first, second, third and fifth in a three-on-three, five-team wheelchair basketball tournament at Riverpoint Sports & Wellness.

Riverpoint, 9190 Coors Blvd. NW, will be the site for another wheelchair basketball tournament on June 8. Teams of 3-5 players should send an email to team.chairball@gmail.com to obtain an application.

“Riverpoint … has publicly committed to having regular similar tournaments in the future, which I think you'll agree is pretty cool,” Watson added.

More information is available at chairbasketball.com.

Rio Rancho Road Runners Teams Place 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th in Riverpoint 3X3 Wheelchair Basketball Tournament!!!

Road Runners totally dominate the local competition in Riverpoint 3X3 Tournament. Congratulations to Kipp, David, Hans, Marcos P., Jesse, Ari, Alex, Michael, Roland, Tharon, Talina, Brandon and Marcos G.!!!

Our Players Are So Good They Can Collectively Levitate a Basketball Over a Hoop

March 16, 2024 Tournament Highlights


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Ari Layup

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Kipp Rebound

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Hans pass to David

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Local Businesses and Organizations that Promote ChairBall Deserve Your Appreciation!

Riverpoint Sports & Wellness

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Creative Crossroads

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Center of Recreational Excellence

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Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Sunset Insurance

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Promote ChairBall

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