Editor's note: This updates a story that was previously published on the website.
Thirteen baseball and softball teams will travel to Great Bend at the end of this month for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, April 30 through May 3.
The Great Bend Sports Complex has a two-year contract to host the conference, said Chris Umphres, sports director at the Great Bend Recreation Commission.
“This is a big deal for Great Bend,” said Diann Henderson, executive director of the GBRC.
The double-elimination tournament will bring approximately 2,000 people to town over four days, Umphres said.
Great Bend residents are eligible for free admission to the first game, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30.
Local volunteers will be serving as ambassadors to the eight softball teams and five baseball teams. Some of the collegiate athletes plan to visit Jefferson and Riley elementary schools and interact with students.
In addition to Great Bend’s first KCAC tournament, the Sports Complex will also be the site of a Kansas National Baseball Congress (NBC) baseball tournament for players 9-14 years old. Approximately 30 teams are expected for that tournament, April 26 and 27.
At last Monday’s GBRC Board of Directors meeting, Umphres and other program coordinators reported on recent and upcoming events. Umphres said he is currently drafting teams for summer baseball and softball.
Umphres also presented the handbook for coaches, which has been updated, and said information from the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) is now available to coaches online.
The Recreation Commission requires coaches to become NYSCA certified, and much of the certification process can now be done online as well. A year’s membership is $20, which is reimbursed by the GBRC and provides $1 million in coaching liability insurance. Coaches also undergo a background check, which is good for two years, he said.
Ball family wins Snow Sculpture Contest
The Mark Ball family of Great Bend was the winner of the Great Bend Recreation Commission’s 2014 Snow Sculpture Contest, Leisure Program Coordinator Garet Fitzpatrick announced.
The family created a snowman that was 11 feet, 6 inches tall. For their efforts, they received a $25 gift card donated by Walmart.
Second place and a $15 Walmart gift card went to the Cauthon family of Kinsley. Brothers Payton and Dahlton Cauthon created a bear family snow sculpture.
Fitzpatrick reported on recent activities such as Walk Kansas, which has 62 teams this year. He noted that several programs were offered to students over spring break, but the baby-sitter training had to canceled because the instructor had a scheduling conflict. Another baby-sitter training class may be offered this summer.
He also noted that job applications are being accepted at the GBRC office, 1214 Stone St., for aides to assist with summer programs. The work can vary from five to 25 hours per week. Applicants must be at least 16 years old.
Program Coordinator Megan Hammeke said bowling is the most popular activity offered to special populations, and senior citizens enjoy the Fit For Life classes and Tai Chi classes.
For the month of March, Henderson reported, GBRC overed 1,290.75 hours of supervised activities. There were 4,286 enrollments and 17,223 participants, of which 8,595 were spectators. This compares to 4,191 enrollments in March 2013.
Henderson also reported that she, Umphres and Hammeke traveled to Washington, D.C. for the NRPA Legislative Forum, and that Hammeke and Fitzpatrick recently set up a booth at the Fuller Brush employee health fair.