Midland Bidding to Host 2010 ISC World Tournament

Midland Daily News
December 9th, 2008
By Dan Chalk
(reprinted with permission)

[Midland, MI] – With all of its fastpitch softball history, one fastpitch event that Midland has never hosted is the International Softball Congress World Tournament. But now, the Midland Explorers Booster Club hopes to bring the ISC Tournament to Currie Stadium in the second and third weeks of August 2010.

After a presentation by the Explorers Booster Club last Tuesday, the City of Midland’s Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to recommend that city staff work with the booster club in support of a bid for the tournament. If the bid is accepted by the ISC, the 32-team ISC World Tournament would be held at Currie Stadium, and the concurrent 40-team ISC Tournament of Champions would take place at Redcoats Complex.

Kyle Beane of the Explorers Booster Club said the club for a few years has tossed around the idea of hosting the tournament. He said its economic impact would be between $2 million and $5 million. “We’ve looked at it for the past few years but never put the time and the organization into it,” said Beane, who also plays for the Midland Explorers fastpitch team. “We’ve still got a lot of steps to go, but we’re very hopeful.” Beane said the booster club plans to submit a bid to ISC Executive Director Ken Hackmeister next month, and he expects to get an OK from Hackmeister by March 2009.

Beane said no other city has expressed an interest in hosting the 2010 tournament, and he said that Hackmeister has told him the ISC would be supportive of a bid from Midland.“In the past, two to four teams have bid for it,” he said. “It just so happens that for 2010, no one else is bidding for it. Ken and I have talked different times over the years. He’s supportive of us (in our plan to make a bid).”

In the meantime, the Explorers Booster Club is working on the details of preparing for the tournament: lining up volunteers, vendors and accommodations, among other things. “It definitely is a year-and-a-half process to get it ready,” Beane said. The ISC has been hosted recently by Kimberly, Wis.; Eau Claire, Wis.; Sioux City, Iowa; Fargo, N.D.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Kitchener, Ont; and Victoria, B.C. Most teams that compete in the ISC are from the United States and Canada. Australia, Denmark, Bahamas, Czech Republic and Mexico also have sent teams to the tournament. “The top players in the world are going to play in this tournament,” Beane said. “It’s the best tournament the sport has to offer. … The crowds travel well. People all over the country come to the ISC every year, regardless of where it’s at.”

In the past, Currie Stadium has hosted numerous major softball events, including the ASA Men’s Major Nationals, ISF World Championships, USA Men’s National Team and Women’s National Team tryouts, and Olympic Softball team exhibition games. “We’ve got a leg up, because the (Currie Stadium) facility and the community are used to this type of event,” Beane said. City of Midland Recreation Manager Marcie Post said she feels the Explorers Booster Club is well organized in its plan to bid for the tournament. “It sounds like they really have their ducks in a row,” she said. “If we get everything set and ready to go, it would be a really great thing for Midland.”

Post added that it’s important for the city to recoup the cost of the labor that will be required to staff the tournament.“I want to break even on everything that we’re doing here,” she said. “In the crisis we’re going through with the city budget, I think it’s important that we’re breaking even, that we’re recouping our costs.” Beane said it was crucial to get the vote of approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission.“We were looking for their blessing. We knew if we didn’t have fields to play on, it would be a moot point,” he said.

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