Busiest July ever at Prospect Meadows
July 7, 2021 | Angela Jordan
The folks who created Prospect Meadows envisioned lots of months with hundreds of teams pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.
Welcome to July of 2021.
A grand total of 275 teams from 16 states will be flocking to Prospect Meadows this month for a steady stream of big tournaments. All told, they’ll account for approximately 5,000 hotel room nights and spend an estimated $5 million dollars.
That will make Prospect Meadows one of the biggest economic engines in Linn County this summer.
Prospect Meadows opened in 2019, but the start was delayed until late May due to unfavorable weather. The pandemic and derecho threw a monkey wrench into 2020, but this year has been a delight so far.
“Year 3 has been good for us,” said Jack Roeder, the president and CEO. “Our two best months are July and September, in terms of teams that will be out here. That’s the most exciting part. Our two best months are ahead of us.”
There was a Game Day tournament during the Fourth of July weekend, and the next four weeks are booked for major Perfect Game events. The 16U WWBA Midwest Elite Championship and the 14U-15U WWBA North Championship are scheduled for July 8-12 with a combined 86 teams at Prospect Meadows those days.
“This will be the biggest tournament we’ve ever had,” said Roeder. “In 2022 and beyond, that’s what we want to see more often.”
It took three years, but they’ll finally have games at Prospect Meadows from March through October.
“This is a new experience for us,” said Roeder. “We have to look at what is the ultimate schedule moving forward. What tweaks do we make for 2022?”
There’s plenty of room for growth, with room for more teams and bigger events. “I think we’re getting closer,” said Roeder, “but I don’t think we’ve maxed out by any stretch of the imagination.”
Teams from Iowa, Illinois, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin, Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan, Nevada, Utah, Indiana, California and Oklahoma will be participating in the tournaments this July. The Iowa teams can start competing once their Iowa high school campaigns are finished.
Perfect Game will hold its 17U WWBA North Championship and 14U WWBA Midwest World Series the weekend of July 16-19. The 15U WWBA Midwest World Series and the 17U WWBA Midwest Elite Championship is scheduled for July 23-26. The 16U-17U WWBA Battle for the Midwest and the 14U WWBA Midwest Elite Championship are set for July 30-Aug. 2.
The original plan at Prospect Meadows was to build 16 teams at their site, located at the southeast corner of Highway 13 and County Home Road just north of Marion. Roeder said they’d still like to build more fields in the future, perhaps with a mixture of high school fields and smaller fields for softball and youth sports.