MUSTANG, OK - For 75 and 80 teams it has become a "no brainer", if you want to play tournaments where you will find other 75 and 80 teams you play the SPA MID-WEST and MID-EAST CIRCUIT.
That was verified again in 2014 when five SPA TOURNAMENTS again proved to be the top draw east of VEGAS in all SENIOR TOURNAMENTS hosting 75 and 80 Division teams.
"Over the past six years we have seen the attendance at just our WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS for 75 and 80 quadruple in attendance," SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS said, "This year alone we are expecting 22 teams (13 75 AAA, 4 75M, 5 80'S) in that age group. That is expecting not projecting."
The high attendance figure is not only in the SPA WORLDS. THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC drew fifteen 75's and three 80's to the JUNE BARBERTON,OHIO tournament while the JUNE COLUMBUS,OHIO HEART OF OHIO tournament has six 75's. SHELBYVILLE, INDIANA'S JULY HOOSIER CLASSIC pulled in seven 75's while GLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND had five 75's.
That may not soul like many teams but when you are a 75 or 80 team it is a breath of fresh air.
"We just got back from the SSUSA MID-WEST NATIONALS in Kansas and we had to play 70's teams," TOM NORMAN, manager of the TEXAS CLASSIC'S 80's said, "It isn't much fun playing teams 10-to-15 years younger than you."
What the TEXAS CLASSICS experienced is not an exception but more like the norm. Out of all the SSUSA and ISSA tournaments east of VEGAS this year only one had three or more 75/80 teams entered.
"The 75 Division teams all know, if you want to play in a tournament where you see a lot of different 75's teams you have to play SPA and mainly in the mid-west," BILL REGAN, manager of PENNSYLVANIA'SPEACHTREE RESTAURANT team said," "You would hope the other organizations would try to put on a few "75/80 division friendly" tournaments together but that hasn't happened."
These aren't just local teams making the trip to the mid-west tournaments for 75's and 80's, they are coming from KANSAS, TEXAS, MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, MARYLAND, GEORGIA, INDIANA, ILLINOIS, KENTUCKY, MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA and the CAROLINA's.
"You go where the other teams go and right now they are playing in INDIANA and OHIO," BOB NAMI, managerof NEW JERSEY'S NAMI CONSTRUCTION said, "I don't know what their (SPA) secret is but they sure turn out the 75 and 80 teams at their tournaments."
JACK HAYDEN of the 75's LOUISVILLE THUNDER said it best.
"Teams have to decide if they want to pay $450 to go to a tournament a hundred miles away and play 70's teams and/or one 75 team or pay the same price and travel 400 miles and play different teams in their own age class," HAYDEN asked. "We prefer to go those extra miles and play lots of different teams in our own age group."
Another manager said, "If we are going to travel a hundred miles or more to play in a tournament and there is only one other 75 team, we would be better off staying home and inviting that other team to visit us and play a few games over a week-end and both can save the $400 entry fee."
So this winter when you start planning where to play in 2015 be sure and put the SPA MID-WEST tournaments on your list, especially if you want to play 75's and 80's and not 70's. You will not regret it.
Speaking for SPA, we hope to see you in 2015.