Kansas City, Here We Come To The 2014 Show Me Showdown
Kansas City is having an epic sports year. The Chiefs made the NFL Wild Card Playoffs in January, the Royals are riding an undefeated 2014 MLB Playoff streak into the ALCS this weekend, and Sporting Kansas City won the MLS Cup. Now, it’s the Show Me Showdown’s turn to rock the Kansas City sports landscape with the Heart of America Softball League’s second consecutive yearly tournament after rebooting the once dormant event in 2013.
Mitch Simmons is the Commissioner of the Heart of America Softball League and the Co-Director of this year’s Show Me Showdown. He wants everyone to know that Kansas City is a sports town, straight or gay! “Ask President Obama, Kansas City is a great place to be, especially if you like sports! The individual attention and hospitality each team will receive when they come to our tournament is what truly sets us apart from other tournaments. Our committee has worked hard to put on a well-organized, fun tournament,” said Simmons.
Kansas City has had a gay softball tournament in the past, however the Show Me Showdown was created in 2007. “It started as a competition between the Heart of America Softball League in Kansas City and the Gay and Lesbian Association of Summer Softball (GLASS) in St. Louis. The games would rotate between each city. After a few years, it was decided to hold the Show Me Showdown in Kansas City each year and develop it into a regional tournament,” said Simmons. After a brief hiatus from 2011 to 2012, the Heart of America Softball League ushered in a new tournament committee with a fresh branding vision, all while keeping the traditional Columbus Day Weekend dates. “Our focus last year was to make sure our product was of high quality. We created a new brand for the tournament and spent a lot of time developing a new website,” added Simmons. The tournament website is one of the best in the nation, if not the best for NAGAAA sanctioned tournaments in North America, check it out at www.showmeshowdownsoftball.com.
The tournament will kick off with an Opening Party and Registration Event at Bistro 303 in the popular Westport district of midtown Kansas City, Missouri. The event will run from 7 pm to 10 pm. Players will be able to sign in to get their tournament bags and to get the all important tournament wristband that carries drink specials, free cover and other goodies with whoever wears it over the weekend! After the games on Saturday the tournament committee has put together a jam-packed afternoon and evening of events. It all starts on Saturday at 3 pm at The Point where they will have all the important baseball and football games on the TV’s along with some food and drink specials for tournament participants. Then the party moves for a special show and party at the always popular Missie B’s from 9 pm to Midnight. Following the championship games on Sunday afternoon everyone will want to end the tournament with the Closing Party at Sidekicks Saloon by honoring all of the trophy teams with their tournament swag! The top three teams in each division will receive trophies along with tournament sweatshirts awarded to first place and medals awarded to second place in each division. A free buffet will also be included at Sidekicks Saloon for all tournament participants wearing their wristbands. The Closing Party begins at 5 pm on Sunday.
All tournament games will be played at the picturesque Frank White Jr. Softball Complex in nearby Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The tournament is guaranteeing four games per team, two in pool play and at least two in double elimination. A two umpire crew will be used for all trophy games in each division. The host hotel for this year’s tournament is the Ramada – Overland Park, which is offering a very competitive $74.00 per night rate with free wi-fi internet and free breakfast included.
The unique nature of the World Series being just two weeks before this tournament would normally spell disaster for a smaller NAGAAA member city, however it’s a credit to the Show Me Showdown tournament committee that this year’s tournament only lost one team overall from last year to this year. Furthermore, this tournament has teams from two cities that aren’t NAGAAA member cities. Both Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa will be entering C Division teams into the Show Me Showdown this year. Those teams added to the rest of the field make for a very diverse field of teams as the tournament’s 15 teams come from seven different states including Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas and Georgia. This is the second consecutive year with a highly diverse field of teams from many states, which is understandable considering Kansas City’s centralized location making it easier for teams from all across the country to travel to the city.
One thing is for certain, the temporary sports world epicenter that is Kansas City will be featuring its beautiful fountains, some finger licking good barbecue and most importantly, some great NAGAAA softball competition this Columbus Day Weekend.
*Thank you to Mitch Simmons, HASL Commissioner and Show Me Showdown Tournament Co-Director for his participation with this tournament spotlight article.*