Tournament proves a winner for many
By RANDY GONZALES
There was more than one winner at this weekend's Mid-America Youth Basketball tournament in Hays.
* There were nine division winners among the 37 teams.
* The tournament was a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County.
* Local merchants cashed in on the swarm of teams -- and their families -- that invaded Hays for the second straight weekend. Last weekend, it was the Hays City Little Shoot-Out, another MAYB youth tourney.
This weekend, for instance, there was Todd King from Liberal, whose son, Josh, was on a fourth-grade team, the Bulls.
King estimated his family spent $250 to $300 Saturday and Sunday in Hays. They stayed overnight at Ramada and ate pizza Saturday night.
"We ordered in Domino's and let all the boys swim, enjoy times with the other teams," King said.
The King family ate at Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers for lunch Sunday before heading home.
King said he didn't get in any shopping.
"Pretty much living in the gym. The women go shopping, yes," he said with a chuckle.
King wasn't sure if his wife hit the stores.
"Not that I know of, but I haven't looked in back of the vehicle yet, either," he said.
Tim Mitchell's son also was on a fourth-grade team. Their family traveled to Hays for the weekend from Syracuse and had a room at Sleep Inn.
They went to Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Co. after Saturday's action.
Mitchell said after factoring in fuel, meals and lodging, "you can pay $200 pretty easy."
Heather Gleason, whose husband was coach for the first-place Dodge City Storm in the girls' third- and fourth-grade division, said not only did she go to the games, but "got a lot of shopping in at The Mall, too."
Gleason estimated they would spend approximately $300 during weekend.
Her family stayed at Best Western Butterfield Inn.
"The girls absolutely love it," Gleason said. "We stayed up late, talking to all the parents. The girls swam all night long."
The Gleasons tried out several dining establishments. On Saturday, it was Thirsty's Brew Pub and Grill and also Golden Q. On Sunday, it was IHOP Restaurant in the morning and Freddy's before leaving town.
"We always like Hays," Gleason said.