While bringing sports tournaments to town might be a nuisance to those who end up waiting in line at a restaurant, the positive effects far outweigh standing in line. Glasgow brought the first Class C Showcase to town on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7. That showcase turned out to be a success and will probably grow next year.
Athletic Director Willie Thibault told the school board on Wednesday, Dec. 11, that it was a great weekend with lots of support, despite the extreme cold. He explained that the crowds were down due to the cold but additional money will come into the community next year as hotels and restaurants fill up with athletes, their family and fans.
“It’s a great staff and a great community to offer tournaments,” Thibault said. “Glasgow is a hub and this showcase gave an opportunity to play different schools.”
Money from the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) helped the schools house students. The district applied for the funding and it was granted. Thibault also explained at the school board meeting that Montana allowed practices to move up a week before Thanksgiving which allowed there to be an extra game for varsity teams.
The showcase allowed schools from different districts around the state to play each other. Some teams would never otherwise play each other. He also explained that the showcase was not a tournament, as it was not all predetermined on the winning teams. All teams played two games, one on Friday a second one on Saturday. With only 18 varsity games allowed in Montana and 19 in North Dakota, it allowed schools to join in. The region schedules in the state prescheduled around 16 games to give some wiggle room for additional games.
“The first two weeks are kind of freebies; no one plays in the first week,” Thibault said. “There used to be turkey tournaments years ago, but when the practice tournaments were set back they went away.”
He explained that perhaps two decades ago the turkey tournaments took place. This year, at the Class C Showcase, eight schools came to Glasgow. The economic impact was good for the community, but with the extreme cold the town lost some money for those who came. At the school board meeting, Glasgow High School Principal Shawnda Zahara-Harris explained that the district went out of its way to find housing for all the buses. The hospitality shown to schools is hoped to help bring many of those schools back.
“We expect the crowds to be much better in the future,” Thibault said.
Planning for the next year has already begun. The varsity teams are all scheduled 18 games next year, so Glasgow will only have one girls junior varsity team participate in the showcase. The farthest school that came to participate was Highwood. Schools from even farther away could come next year. Thibault said that at least 12 varsity girls and boys teams will participate.
“We’re looking forward to it; it should have a turnout and some good matchups next year,” he said. “It’s good for the community and good for the surrounding area.”