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Local fourth-grader goes onto state Elks Hoop Shoot 

Julian Gallardo, center, stands with his first place trophy and basketball. He took first in both the Paso Robles Elks Lodges and district Hoop Shoot. He will go on to the state competition on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Julian Gallardo, center, stands with his first place trophy and basketball. He took first in both the Paso Robles Elks Lodges and district Hoop Shoot. He will go on to the state competition on Saturday, Feb. 7.

Julian Gallardo wins Paso Robles and district contests

Georgia Brown Elementary School fourth-grader Julian Gallardo, 9, will compete in the state Elks Hoop Shoot on Saturday, Feb. 7 for the chance to go to regional in Las Vegas.

Julian has played basketball since he was 5 years old. In December 2014, his family heard about the Elks annual Hoop Shoot, a free throw competition, just before Christmas, so for the first time he competed in the contest for those 8 to 13 years of age. He took first at the Paso Robles Hoop Shoot, then went on to the district level — which incorporates 10 lodges from Paso Robles to Simi Valley — on Jan. 25, where he took first again.

Members of the Paso Robles Elks Lodge gather together at its Hoop Shoot on Dec. 13.

Members of the Paso Robles Elks Lodge gather together at its Hoop Shoot on Dec. 13.

“We never knew about it [before the competition in December],” Julian’s his father, Josh Gallardo, said.

The contest is split into two divisions: boys and girls, and three age categories: 8- to 9-year-olds, 10- to 11-year-olds and 12- to 13-year-olds. At the Paso Robles Elks Hoop Shoot, Julian got 18 out of 25 free throws and at the District level he got 21 out of 25, which Gallardo said was more than anyone from any of the age categories. Julian’s family — Josh; his mother, Frances; and 2-year-old brother — traveled to Santa Barbara to watch him compete. Josh said they will also to the state competition.

“As he moves on, it gets harder and harder,” Josh said. “He practices every day. He’s really good.”

Hoop Shot competitors are only allowed to compete at one location per year. In the order of competition, each contestant is allowed five practice shots, if he or she chooses, before taking the first 10 shots for score. After each contestant has completed his or her first 10 shots, each will shoot the final 15 shots each. The top three shooters out of 25 in each category will be named first, second and third place winners. In the case of a tie, it will be broken by those competitors shooting five free throws at a time until the tie is broken.

Paso Robles Elks Lodge Trustee and Past Exalted Ruler Howard Wood said that the lodge has been holding the contests for the last eight years.

“It’s something to promote athleticism and to promote youth in [the Elks],” Wood said.

In addition to basketball, Julian also played baseball and soccer. His dad said Julian is involved with sports year-round, something he was not able to do as a child and something he wanted to give his son.

“Usually every day. I make all of them usually,” Julian said about practicing for the state Hoop Shoot competition.

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