When a tournament comes to Sidney, it’s not just the high school that is running around trying to get a lot set up and organized.
The Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, among many other organizations, get involved to help everything run smoothly and present the visiting teams with a great experience.
At the head of the chamber is Kali Godfrey, the executive director, who is responsible for helping out the tournament and the local businesses.
The opportunity for teams to play in the postseason at Sidney High School extends to the town itself; businesses get a great opportunity to get some new business and make an impression on the visitors.
And that’s where Godfrey steps in.
One goal of hers in 2021 is to capitalize on the great sports in Sidney and the opportunities Sidney has to play host to events and tournaments.
Sidney High School hosted the District 2C basketball tournament from Feb. 15 to Feb. 20, and it will host the Eastern Class A Divisional (wrestling) this week. On top of that, the Eastern Class C Divisional for boy’s and girl’s basketball will be back at the high school from March 3 to March 6.
This stretch of hosting tournaments is exactly the kind of thing Godfrey wants to see.
“It’s a huge surge of people in Sidney, and they all have needs and we can capitalize off of addressing those needs,” she said.
For the District 2C tournament, it’s not crazy to guess between 1,000-2,000 people went through town and visited Sidney. For the wrestling divisional as well, 1,000-plus students and family and coaches wouldn’t be crazy to imagine staying in and visiting Sidney.
Godfrey has been on the front lines helping with these tournaments, for example checking people in at the District 2C tournament.
But she also does a lot behind-the-scenes, helping to promote local businesses and prepare them for the surge of people coming to town.
“It’s a great opportunity for Sidney… the more we draw these tournaments to town the better we benefit from that,” Godfrey said.
Tournaments bring the opportunity for different areas to benefit.
Especially with teams that travel from further away, the hospitality field is able to capitalize on people staying at hotels for a few days. For example, the Class A state volleyball tournament was held in Sidney in the fall, with teams from all over the state coming in.
With the Eastern Divisional for wrestling this week, teams from as far as Helena, for example, are coming for a couple days.
Restaurants and local stores can benefit as well with new eyes looking for places to shop or eat.
In the end, the payoff Godfrey feels from the tournaments going well is great.
“It is satisfying. We get good reviews, like little things like apparently 10 years ago it was a tradition that the kids who came here they had oranges in their locker room. And they gave us raving reviews over that, and it’s just like this little thing that gives us good feels,” she said.