BULLHEAD CITY– It wasn’t that long ago that several city leaders embarked on a plan to make Bullhead City the “Sports Tournament Capital of America” by enticing various organizations to consider holding tournaments at the city’s many parks. In some cases, the city’s recreation division organized and hosted the city’s own tournaments. In any event, city administrators feel the city has established itself as a major sports destination and the proof will be evident this month.
On the heels of yet another successful spring senior softball tournament, Bullhead City will once again host the 21st annual Tournament of Champions this weekend. Nearly 50 high school softball teams will converge on Mohave High School, as well as Ken Fovargue and Rotary Parks to settle an important question– who is the number one team in America. In recent years, the tournament champion has often times left Bullhead City with the number one ranking in the USA/Today high school softball poll.
The following weekend, Bullhead City plays host to a different sport, but the city is no stranger to youth soccer. The American Youth Soccer Organization will be holding its Western States Championship Tournament at the Rotary Park soccer fields. It’s expected that 96 teams and their fans (coaches, parents, and other family members) will participate. It was just last month with Bullhead City was the site of the Colorado River Invitation Tournament, which brings more than 100 youth soccer teams from Arizona, California and Nevada to the Tri-State area during the President’s Day holiday weekend.
“The city council made a policy statement several years ago that there was a desire for Bullhead City to become a major sports tournament destination,” said Bullhead City manager Toby Cotter. “When you have some of the top tier senior men’s softball tournaments, you have the number one high school softball team in America, and you have the best youth soccer teams on this side of the country, I think we can declare that we’ve become a major sports destination.”
The city’s efforts in attracting sports tournaments was primarily driven to supplement the area’s tourism industry. While many in the Midwest are still shoveling snow, many sports enthusiasts have discovered that Bullhead City not only has the perfect facilities for large tournaments, but also the weather to hold these events in February and March.
“These tournaments have a tremendous impact on the local economy both here in Bullhead City and in our sister city over in Laughlin,” said Cotter.
While it was the city that spearheaded the effort to attract sports tournaments, it was the community that made it happen.
“The city can’t do this alone,” Cotter added. “It takes the partnerships that we’ve built with organizations like the Legacy Foundation and the various youth sports groups to make this all work.”
Cotter also credited Laughlin with offering a huge helping hand.
“There are more than 10,000 hotel rooms in Laughlin,” Cotter said. “Without Laughlin, there would be no way we could pull off these tournaments no matter how great our facilities have been for those that come.”