ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Anyone who thinks a 10-under state baseball tournament is just kids play needs to consider the economic impact such an event has on a host city like Hillsboro.
With 24 teams confirmed for the five-day tournament, the number of players and coaches will total almost 500.
Add to that parents, grandparents and interested spectators, and the number of people coming to town this weekend will swell to well over 1,000.
“This tournament brings people to Hillsboro, and it benefits a lot of business places financially,” said Bob Hein, state director for Hap Dumont. “By bringing this tournament to Hillsboro, it brings a bunch of money into the local economy.”
Megan Kilgore, executive director of the Hillsboro Management Board, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s incredibly important to get events like this into our community,” Kilgore said. “We have the facilities that we need to be using.”
Kilgore said the MAYB basketball tournament held in Hillsboro earlier this summer generated an estimated $433,000 for Hillsboro and Tabor College, with previous years totaling as much as $866,000.
“That includes the lodging revenue Tabor received,” Kilgore said. “People come to town for events like these and buy gas, food and eat in our restaurants.”
With 24 teams confirmed for the tournament this weekend, the impact on the local impact should be significant.
Each team is allowed 17 roster members and three coaches. If each team member brings at least two “fans” with them, each team accounts for 40 guests.
Do the match and the tournament will bring nearly 1,500 guests to town.
Kilgore said it is safe to calculate that each guest spends an average of $10 per day.
With 24 teams in town on Saturday, 16 on Sunday, six on Monday, and three on Tuesday and Wednesday, that’s the equivalent of 52 teams with 40 guests each.
Multiplied by that total number by $10 per guest and the Hap Dumont tournament will leave about $208,000 in Hillsboro during the five-day event.
“Whenever Hillsboro is host to a major sporting event like the Hap Dumont tournament, good things happen,” said Joel Klaassen, president of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.
“Our food and service businesses have new customers they would not otherwise have and we have the opportunity to roll out the welcome mat for our weekend guests.”
“I think the one thing that Hillsboro has going for it is it’s hospitality,” Kilgore said. “We enjoy people visiting our town. Some town couldn’t care less if they have visitors, but I think Hillsboro is very welcoming, very hospitable and the biggest thing people can do is encourage people to come to our town.
“I think Hillsboro will continue to see returns after they host an event like this,” Kilgore added. “People come from all over-and they will come back.
“People might drive by one of our trailer manufacturers or car dealers and decide to buy something,” said Hein, who also happens to be a county commissioner. “The long-term benefits of a tournament like this could go on for months.”
Sonja Fisher, manager of Country Haven Inn of Hillsboro, said she knows the tournaments are good for business.
“With tournaments like the Hap Dumont in town, it brings people into town,” Fisher said. “It’s wonderful. It’s great and it definitely helps our business to have the ball tournaments in town.”
“The reason we got this tournament is because we have a good site,” Hein said. “You have to have three diamonds, good lights, and people who are willing to run this thing.
“We appreciate the efforts of our community members who work behind the scenes to make tournaments like this happen,” Klaassen said.
“Hopefully, Hillsboro will get a rec director hired again to work on keeping this complex busy during the summer,” Hein said. “To get a summer tournament going, you have to start working on it about the first of the year.”
“Economically speaking, if we could keep the complex busy quite a bit of the summer, you’d get a big influx of money into the city’s economy,” Hein said. “And I don’t know of any city that wouldn’t want that.”