I came to Mason City from Cherokee in 2007. When I got here and started talking to people, a common theme came out-there weren’t enough opportunities for basketball players in the area to improve their skills and compete with areas with bigger towns and opportunities like the All Iowa Attack and Kingdom Hoops. I spent my first two years trying to convince someone to put together a program that would offer skill development training on a long-term basis but was unsuccessful.

So, in fall of ’09, I started the North Iowa Basketball Academy, which offered individual and small group skill development workouts and leadership training twice a week. We ended up with about 35 boys and girls and it was very well received. A number of the parents asked whether we would consider putting together AAU teams to travel around in the spring and summer and after a lot of thought, we decided to put teams together in the spring of 10 and had tryouts.

We were able to put together 2 girls teams (the Fire) and 2 boys’ teams (the Raptors) and the girls played in 6 tournaments last summer-4 MAYB tournaments and 2 Attack tournaments. Basically, we had our lunch handed to us, but it was a great learning experience for our kids. I did an online survey and almost all parents wanted us to continue and to offer skill development throughout the year.

So, we decided to have more tryouts in August ’10 and to build on the teams that we had. From the tryouts, we added two more girls’ teams, ending up with one each in grades 6-9. We worked out on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings at NIACC’s main gym and played in 2 fall tournaments, but basically we were trying to get kids ready for their high school seasons. We did offer skill development sessions over the Christmas break and did have excellent response from our teams.

We did not do anything else during the basketball season and started up with the girls’ teams in April of 2011 and worked out on Sunday and Thursday evenings. We signed up for 5 tournaments this summer, including our very own tournament Memorial Day weekend in Mason City, which was a huge success.

In the fall of 2012, the decision was made to convert the Fire into a nonprofit organization called the North Iowa Basketball Association with a board of directors consisting of 9 members. The initial board consisted of Curt Klaahsen, John Oertel, Tom Kirby, Thad Evans, Jareese Williams, Adam Callanan, Andie Olson, Rick Orban, and Todd Rima.

In 2013, the North Iowa Raptors boys AAU group joined the NIBA organization so that the Fire now had a boys and a girls program. Jareese Williams was named the boys director and Todd Ciochetto was named the girls director.


A copy of the North Iowa Basketball Association Bylaws can be downloaded here.

A copy of the North Iowa Basketball Association Articles of Incorporation can be downloaded here.