From Clyde Bennett: Best of the West will return to Santa Barbara June 2-3 2018. 4 game guarantee $400/team. Contact Clyde here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s notes: This tournament started in 1991, by Al Ruegsegger, longtime fastpitch booster and sponsor. It was founded during the heyday of his Long Beach Painter teams, and hosted the likes of Larry Miller Toyota, with Hall of Famer Peter Meredith, and the Guanella Brothers with New Zealand legend, Chubb Tangaroa. The Editor’s Vista Bombers also played in the inaugural events.
Later, it was run by one of Al’s former pitchers, Dave Blackburn, who became best known in fastpitch circles for his pioneering work in bringing streaming audio, and later, streaming video to men’s fastpitch, including most notably, the ISC World Tournaments starting in 2001.
Dave hosted the tournament for some 13 years, in a number of locations, until finding its new home in Santa Barbara, thanks to Clyde Bennett, with plenty of help from his son Mark, one of California’s best pitchers of the day. In 2012, Dave handed over the reigns for Best of the West to Clyde.
Dave passed away in 2014, and was honored by the planting of a tree at the ballpark in Santa Barbara, honoring his contributions to the game.
A note to managers considering the Best of the West tournament for their 2018 schedule:
Santa Barbara is one of most beautiful cities on the California coast, and popular among tourists. If you are a team planning on making the trip, be sure to book your rooms in advance. There are a number of Motel 6 and similar in or near Santa Barbara for teams watching their budget. Never too early to plan ahead!
While searching some old stories at Fastpitchwest for this story, I ran across one of the pages from the old website. I had almost forgotten about that original logo and masthead.