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May 1, 2012
RECREATIONAL TOURNAMENTS BOOMING IN THE NORTHSteve Simmons New England & North Regional Director, Clubs & Leagues
The annual Senior Softball USA North Region Spring Training Recreational Tournament attracted a record 13 teams to the Raccoon River Park Softball Complex in West Des Moines, Iowa, in April.
This tournament has served as the start of the SSUSA North region’s outdoor recreational tournament circuit for the past six years.
Despite weather considerations, four of the prior Spring Training tournaments had been impacted by rain, this early season outdoor tournament has proven to be very popular and continues to grow from just six teams in 2007 to 13 this year.
This tournament follows on the heels of record attendance in the dome tournaments held this past winter. Thirty-seven teams that took part in the three SSUSA North region recreational winter dome tournaments played in Minnesota, up from 20 teams back in 2006-2007.
In short, attendance has pretty much doubled in both the Spring Training and dome tournaments over the past six years and five more SSUSA North Region Recreational Tournaments are scheduled for this summer in Minnesota. They include:
Friday, June 15 – One-day 70-&-over tournament in Rochester.
Thursday, July 12 – Ken Brown / Chuck Lindgren Memorial Tournament in Edina.
Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29 – Lumberjack Classic weekend tournament in Bemidji.
Wednesday, Aug. 8 – Minnesota SSUSA Recreational State Tournament in Edina.
Tuesday, Sept. 4 – End of Summer Tournament in Rochester.
The popularity of the SSUSA North Region Recreational Tournament Circuit has promoted growth and sparked interest in all corners of the five state SSUSA North Region (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota) in addition to having a regular contingent of Wisconsin teams / players that take part in addition to teams from both Kansas City and Winnipeg.
Different representatives from Iowa want to host tournaments in both Waterloo and Mason City and a separate Iowa circuit could be established using West Des Moines, Waterloo and Mason City as tournament sites.
South Dakota State Director Bill Regynski plans to test the waters for possible SSUSA South Dakota recreational senior tournament play. He plans to target a couple of weekends during the summer, spread the word and see what he gets for a turn out.
The North Region Recreational Tournament Circuit also has helped make senior players aware of the products and services available through the SSUSA Leagues Program. Several leagues purchase both insurance and softballs through SSUSA.
Approximately 20 senior leagues in each region (North and New England) have provided league information to be posted on the SSUSA web site.
In addition, two SSUSA qualifying tournaments are scheduled for June. They are the New England classic, the Connecticut SSUSA Qualifier, and the 10,000 Lakes classic, the Minnesota SSUSA Qualifier. The Connecticut tournament is scheduled for June 9-13 in North Branford and the Minnesota tournament is scheduled for June 16-17 in Rochester.
Partnering with the Connecticut Sports Management Group, which manages the state’s Senior Games, both makes this a dual qualifier and has reinvigorated interest in this tournament. The tournament expects to include a senior women’s division, along with the men’s divisions over the five-day event.
The CT Sports Management Group has budgeted this tournament to provide two umpires for each game; an official scorekeeper for each game; first, second and third place medals for every player in their respective divisions; and a T-shirt for every player. All games will be played in accordance with SSUSA rules and all teams must be registered with the SSUSA.
The Minnesota SSUSA Qualifier will again be played at the McQuillan Fields in Rochester. Two dozen teams are expected to be playing.