By MELINDA WILLIAMS
A one-day boy’s basketball tournament is expected to bring more than 1,000 people to Pulaski County this weekend, boosting sales at area businesses.
Pulaski County Fast Break Club, a local boy’s basketball booster organization, is hosting Saturday’s 2013 Cougar Crazies Tournament. Games will be held at seven county schools – in Pulaski, Dublin and Fairlawn.
Club president Todd Brewster said this is the third year for the December tournament. The group has held January to February tournaments for 10 years.
“This is the biggest one we’ve done,” said Brewster, noting that 64 teams from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina will participate. Normally teams number in the 40s. “I don’t know of another one-day tournament this big” in Southwest Virginia or the Roanoke area.
“Everybody wins. The county gets tons of business and it’s a good fundraiser for us,” he said. Since one team may play a morning game and then not have another one until afternoon, he explained, many players and their families shop or eat at local restaurants between games. “The restaurants will be packed,” said Brewster.
But the restaurants and stores aren’t all that benefit. These kinds of tournaments also help hotels. He said some of the visitors arrive Friday and stay overnight in local hotels, while others stick around Saturday night after the event.
Since teams consist of 8- to 13-year-old boys, parents and siblings usually accompany them. “We’re estimating there will be 1,500 to 2,000 people (visiting) the county Saturday. That’s a lot of people,” he added.
The benefits don’t end there though. “It’s a good thing for the kids, too,” he said. “It exposes them to the next level of competition, making them better.”
Pulaski County Administrator Pete Huber agrees such tournaments are a win-win.
“Tournaments, whether the basketball event this weekend, the softball events at Randolph and Loving fields, or band competitions, are great for our community. They help in putting county facilities to work in generating sales for local restaurants and stores. They also help to promote Pulaski County as an excellent place to live, work and play,” Huber said.
Games run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Pulaski Elementary School, Pulaski Middle School, Central Gym, Pulaski County High School, Dublin Middle School and the old and new Riverlawn Elementary Schools.