Today, thousands of people from across the country are in North Dakota to kick off the 43rd year of the McQuade softball tournament.
This place will be absolutely packed with softball players, fans, and really – just anybody looking to have a good time. The tournament brings in 20,000 people from all across America, and I wanted to find out who was behind making it all come together.
“It’s just a constant build up every day of the week,” says Mike Wolf, Co-Director, McQuade Tournament.
The largest charity softball tournament in the world is getting ready to swing into their 43rd year.
Mike Wolf is a director of the tournament who has spent all year getting ready for just one weekend.
“We run 456 teams through in about 2 days,” says Wolf.
Getting ready for all these teams means hauling boxes upon boxes of gear to the fields, and getting ready to accommodate a bit of a bigger of a crowd than the city is used to.
Nearly 7,000 men and women from all over the country are registered to play at McQuades this weekend.
In order for that to happen, umpires have to travel great lengths as well – to officiate the 700 games that will be played.
“I’m from Missouri,” says Jennifer Smith, umpire.
“I’m from Lincoln Nebraska!” says Christopher Clark, umpire.
“We have to figure out the caliber of the umpires to make sure we have quality people for quality games so it’s a year round process of trying to prepare for that,” says Wolf.
This group of umpires comes back early every year to help Mike with all the prep work.
After umping at national tournaments across the U.S. – they say this one is their favorite.
“There’s actually a lot less pressure then, say, a national tournament that has a smaller group of teams,” says Smith.
Why is that do you think? I asked.
“They’re here to have fun,” says Smith.
“It’s crazy. I mean you get 5,000 people around one ballpark… and it’s just amazing,” says Clark.
Even though it may seem like it’s all fun and games – for these guys – the work never stops.
“As soon as McQuades is over, he’ll start working on next year’s McQuades,” added Smith.