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Fort Dodge remains home of state softball

Unique partnership has kept event here since 1970

The excitement, the crowds, the cheers and even the tears that are part of the Iowa state softball tournament will continue in Fort Dodge through at least 2025.

The City Council and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union have agreed on a five-year contract extension. That means the tournament will continue at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex for the immediate future.

The state’s best softball teams have been competing for the championships in their divisions at the sports complex since 1970. That is a unique, long running tradition nurtured by the relationships between the Athletic Union and the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Iowa Central Community College and the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Over the years, 893,002 fans have attended the tournament.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau has calculated that the tournament has a direct economic impact of $1.2 million annually, with an indirect economic impact of about $4 million.

Many of the teams stay on the Iowa Central campus. They get meals there and have access to the practice facilities.

Fort Dodge has the outstanding softball facility in the state at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex. That alone makes the city an enticing spot to hold the tournament. Add in the support provided by the unique partnership between the city government, the community college and the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Athletic Union really has no need to think about going anywhere else.

The credit for this long-running success is due to everyone from elected officials to part-time employees grooming the infield between innings.

Their success will be repeated again next week when the 2021 version of the tournament comes to town.

Fort Dodge residents should be proud that their city has been the home of the softball tournament for so long.

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