SOUTHERN UTAH — People from across Utah flocked to St. George Presidents Day weekend and competed in an array of sports ranging from soccer to pickleball, all while contributing to local businesses.
Families from northern Utah traveled down for the weekend to watch their children compete in the Ice Breaker soccer tournament outside the Washington City Community Center. The change in weather was a warm welcome, Andrew Tuttle, a father to a girl competing in the tournament from Eagle Mountain, said. In northern Utah, many teams are still practicing and playing indoors, he said, so the change in venue is one reason they enjoy the trip down.
Both boys and girls teams competed Monday, Evan LeFevre, a father to one of the boy soccer players said, but soccer was not the only thing on the kids’ minds. Members of the team spent their free time over the weekend swimming, eating good food and taking some time to take in the Southern Utah scenery by hiking in Zion National Park.
“It’s a good tournament for us to kind of break the winter blues and get our feet going and legs running,” Lefevre said.
Being on the road and spending lots of quality time with family and friends is also another aspect of the sport Lefevre said he has come to enjoy.
“It’s not only a team sport,” he said, “it’s a family sport.”
In St. George, another crowd gathered at Dixie High School’s Flyer Field for a baseball tournament. The annual tournament is perfect for those seeking warmer weather, Flyer Field Concessions Supervisor Cody Christianson said, and games start as early as 8 a.m. and can continue throughout the day up until 11 p.m., or even midnight.
While the baseball games bring large crowds every year, Christianson also said he thinks this year saw a bit larger turnout than usual, meaning the staff at the concessions stand have been kept quite busy and on their toes.
An avid lover of the game, Christianson said he also coaches baseball teams in the St. George area and is also a graduate of the very school at which he works concessions. Being a part of the tournament is just one more way to show his appreciation and love for the sport.
“I love to talk to people,” he said, “ and I love to be a part of the baseball game,”
The Blind Pick Doubles Pickleball Tournament was also in full swing over the three-day weekend at the Little Valley Pickleball Complex in St. George. While the majority of tournament participants are from the local area, Trish Loghry, a pickleball pro and coach, said, there were some people from out of town who competed.
“I know we had people from Logan and Salt Lake and some other places like that,” Loghry said.
The tournament allowed players of all different skill levels Loghry said. Some teams were even comprised of players who had large age gaps between them.
Events like the pickleball tournament can be positive even for those who do not directly participate in the competition, Loghry said, because players who come from out of town help contribute to the local businesses and economy.
“We bring in people and they stay in hotels and they go to restaurants,” Loghry said. “So it’s a big advantage for the city.”
Videocast contributed by St. George News Reporter Leanna Bergeron.
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