AP NEWS

Holiday weekend big for sporting events in area

February 19, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — Rotary Park Soccer Complex was the site of a large, three-day AYSO soccer tournament that ended Monday.

More than 80 teams participated in the Colorado River Open Invitational Tournament. The site, which offers 13 soccer fields, was busy throughout the Presidents Day weekend with youths from throughout the Southwest.

They were joined by Empire Sports Las Vegas, which held a youth baseball tournament over the weekend. More than 10 baseball teams played at Rotary Park as well.

Jeff Tipton, the city’s human services director, used the phrase “tournication” to describe how families who travel so their children can participate in out-of-town sporting events also try to ensure there is some vacation time included.

At an economic development summit held in December, Tipton said sports families often will try to fit in vacation activities while they are away from home, such as eating out and sightseeing. Some visitors to the Tri-state spend time in Laughlin with its entertainment options.

A second AYSO soccer tournament, River Daze, also brings in a large number of sports families to the area. This year’s will be held April 13-14 at Rotary Park.

Its existence has reduced the numbers of teams participating in the Presidents Day tournament that began about 20 years ago. This year will be the eighth for the River Daze tournament.

CRIT and River Daze alone are expected to bring somewhere between $4.7 million and $5.2 million to local businesses this year.

The city estimates the total economic boost brought by the CRIT and Empire tournaments this weekend to total $3.5 million. Visitors spend money at local restaurants, hotels and retail outlets in Bullhead City and Laughlin.

Both totals are based on an economic impact study of sports tournaments done last year to ascertain how events affect Bullhead City as well as the entire region.

Bullhead City’s goal is to be “the Southwest hub for all sports.” Staff would like to bring two sports tournaments to the community each weekend and increase the size of these events.

There are about 11,000 affordable rooms in the area for people to stay during such tournaments. And along with the soccer complex’s 50 acres of dedicated and lighted fields are 14 lighted baseball-softball fields, said Dave Heath, the city’s parks and recreation superintendent.

The region’s weather is a primary reason cited by the city as why it’s an ideal locale for sports tournaments — and that’s noted along with there being plenty of team-sports areas situated close together in Bullhead City and a variety of other things to do in the river and on land, both Tipton and Heath said.

The weather this year wasn’t cooperative but it was passable. It rained in the area — and snowed at elevation — and was a little cooler than normal both Sunday night and Monday morning, though play went on pretty much on schedule.