Normal’s bid to host another national softball tournament hit the jackpot in Reno, Nevada.
Normal Parks and Recreation and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau staff report that Normal was awarded the 2011 ASA Women’s Under 18 national championships to be played at Champion Fields.
With stiffer competition for championship softball tournaments, the winning bid demonstrates the quality of our tournament staff, our fields, and the hospitality of our community. Normal beat out a number of other larger cities.
This year’s women’s 18 and under tournament attracted 144 teams. In late July and early August of 2011, as many as 1,500 players, their coaches, and family members will stay several days here and generate lots of business for the entire area.
A Pantagraph sports story from this past summer’s tournament indicated that travel softball families aren’t afraid to spend money even in a tight economy.
Every other year, the Town of Normal throws out the welcome mat to about 100 of the best ASA girls softball teams in the country.
This year the Under 12 year-old girls teams are competing at one of the nation’s best softball tournament venues — Champion Fields at Maxwell Park in Normal — for the national fastpitch softball championship.
Eighty-eight teams from New Jersey to California and from Oregon to Texas are staying in the area, spending money in hotels, restaurants, and retailers and enjoying our pleasant July weather.
The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department and dozens of other Town employees and community volunteers work for weeks to prepare the fields, make hotel assignments, and create the best possible experiences for the hundreds of players, coaches, and family members.
The Bloomington and Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau also plays a very important role in hosting the event.
Tonight’s opening ceremonies at ISU’s Hancock Stadium highlighted each of the teams and featured a performance by Quick Change, the couple with one of the biggest functioning wardrobes.
Pool play starts bright and early Monday morning and the tournament continues through Aug. 2.
Good luck to our local teams, the BNGSA Angels U11 and BNGSA Angels U12.
These tournaments demonstrate the value of youth amateur sports in economic development in our community and how important outstanding sports venues like Champion Fields are to our local tourism infrastructure.