The Jr Sioux Wheelers is an adaptive sports program for elementary through high school age youth. Their mission: To provide athletic opportunities to all youth with lower extremity disabilities due to injury or congenital condition. The program is designed to promote physical fitness, self-esteem, confidence, self-motivation, and independence. The Jr Sioux Wheelers participate in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
The Wheelers play in tournaments and games throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In the 2012-2013 season the Wheelers won the JV Division Courage Classic in Hasting MN, and they placed 4th in their Conference tournament in Lakeville, MN. These tournament performances earned them a birth in the NIT JV division of the 2013 National Wheelchair Basketball tournament in Louisville, KY. The Wheelers placed second in the national tournament – losing the championship by only 2 points. Hunter Gronli was named to the all-tournament team and Jon Anderson was named the NIT JV division all tournament MVP.
The Wheelers have started the 2013-14 season strong. They won the JV Division Courage Classic in Hasting MN. Hunter Gronli and Kristen Barnhardt were named to the all-tournament team. Michael Mitchell was the JV tournament MVP! The Wheelers are planning on heading back to Louisville for the national tournament in April.
The Wheelers would like to invite any youth with a lower extremity disability to join their team. Participants are not required to be wheelchair bound. Chairs and Uniforms are provided.
The Sioux Wheelers are a non-profit organization run 100% by volunteers and funded through donations and fundraising activities. 100% of all money raised goes to fund equipment, uniforms, and pay tournament expenses.
Wheelchair Basketball was originally started by WWII Vets. 1946 the California Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America played the first match of wheelchair basketball.
The sport has grown worldwide and was introduced on the global stage in 1960 at the Rome Paralympic Games. Today it is played in more than 100 countries. There are Prep, Junior Varsity, Varsity, Collegiate, Adult, and Profession level teams.
The game is played with teams of 5; the measurements of the court and height of the baskets are the same as in able-bodied basketball.
For the most part the same rule applies. The ball must be dribbled for every two pushes on the chair wheels.
Jr. Sioux Wheelers were started by the PVA in 1986. They are now run 100% through volunteer efforts and funded through donations and fund raising events.
Coach Paul Weiland started with the Wheelers 2011 – in 2012 he took the team to the National Wheelchair Basketball Tourney in Louisville – where they were runners up in the JV division. Paul both played and coached at the collegiate level and served on the Paralympic selection committee.
Manager Dick Neu has been supporting the Wheeler program for over 25 years!
Jr Sioux Wheelers are always looking for players – if you know anyone with a lower extremity disability and the heart of an athlete – please let them know about this program.