There was a reason for those long waiting lines at Rim Country grocery stores, filling stations and cafes this weekend.
Most delays were the result of more than 1,000 softball players, parents and fans descending on the Rim Country May 31 and June 1 to participate in the Triple Crown Sports Cool Country Fun girls fast pitch softball tournament. During the course of the fray, games were played on four Rumsey Park fields in five age groups ranging from 10-and-under to 18-and-under.
In softball parlance, the age groups are known as 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U.
Most of the teams were from the Valley area with the cities of Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and Phoenix represented.
No girls fast pitch team from Payson entered the tournament.
Among the most successful squad was Team Arizona, which went undefeated (4-0) in winning the 10U championship. Most of TA's wins were by the 10-run mercy rule.
In 2006, just after Triple Crown debuted in Payson with a 40-team tournament, former town parks and recreation superintendent Bill Schwind said the event created an economic impact of about $250,000 during the course of the weekend.
Triple Crown sports director Bobby Pena said he enjoys hosting tournaments in Payson but one of the problems the parents and fans face is finding enough reasonably priced motel rooms.
Last year, some had to stay as far away as the Ft. McDowell casino hotel.
Triple Crown Sports, which is relatively new to the Rim Country, hosts girls fast-pitch programs for competitive, select and traveling softball teams.
At the conclusion of each season, World Series events are held in Park City, Utah.
TCS also sponsors youth tournaments in soccer, baseball and basketball, in all 50 states.
Arizona softball tournaments are also held in Scottsdale, Bullhead City, Tucson, Peoria and Phoenix.