The Mountain Basketball Classic kicks off tomorrow night at Knott County Central High School.
But tonight scholarships provided by the tournament are being handed out to more than 140 area students.
142 scholarships will be awarded to students who excel in the classroom and need financial assistance for college.
"I think this tournament has had a big impact on students who maybe would not have had an opportunity to continue their education," said Ernestine Cornett, the general manager at WYMT-TV.
Ralph Gabbard was the brains behind this event wishing to bring together sports and education in the mountains.
"It's been a boom to our students and to all students in Eastern Kentucky. It's just one more way that we can help our kids here in Eastern Kentucky go to college and better themselves," said Bobby Pollard, the principal at Knott County Central High School.
More and more people donate each year causing the Mountain Classic to continue to grow.
"The businesses and individuals throughout Eastern Kentucky have been very generous," said Pollard.
Gabbard noted the program's success does not solely stem from its sponsors.
"The last sentence here, Gabbard says, 'Above all, thanks to the supporters of Mountain Basketball because it is your support that will make it work," said Ralph Gabbard years ago.
These scholarships will be awarded in Gabbard's name to three students interested in broadcast journalism.
This is the first year the awards ceremony is being hosted on a separate night from the basketball tournament games.
Organizers say they hope it will become yet another tradition of the WYMT Mountain Classic.