Baseball tournament winds up local sales pitch
Steamboat Springs — Fifteen-year-old John Lockhart has been playing baseball since he was seven years old.
This summer his team, which plays in his hometown of Casper Wyo., traveled to Steamboat Springs to play in the Triple Crown tournament for the first time.
On Saturday afternoon, Lockhart was wearing his red baseball uniform, holding a bag of ice on his right elbow, while he and his father, Mike, were looking for a place to have lunch.
“It still hurts from yesterday,” John said, modestly. “I pitched the whole game.”
The Lockharts were just two faces in the crowd of more than 10,000 visitors estimated to be in Steamboat over the weekend. That number is a 9-percent increase in visitor population in the city compared to last year at this time and the 110 teams playing in the tournament are believed to be the driving force behind that, according to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
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Tap House owner Dave Daggett said the teams are welcomed.
“It’s a huge impact for any business, I think,” Daggett said. “We served seven teams last night.”
He explained that having big months in June, July and August are now an important part of his business. Especially this year, when the biggest business month out of the year, March, was essentially flat, Daggett said.
“I’m a big fan of Triple Crown,” he said.
Assistant Manager Jessica Marion, of the clothing store Quicksilver, agreed that the high volume of people in town is equating to big days for the business.
“We have just had a lot of people coming in,” she said.
At that store, Marion said the big sellers were hats, visors, T-shirts, sunglasses, swim trunks and anything else oriented toward the outdoors.
“So far everyone has been pretty nice,” she said.
Marion explained that tourists in the winter tend to be a little more stressed, especially the people with children who are losing their hats and gloves.
“We haven’t had any crabby people,” she said.
Jerard Mathews, manager of Steamboat Shirt Company, said he has seen some of the tourists come into the store this weekend, but admitted that last weekend’s crowd was much stronger.
“This has basically been a typical weekend here,” he said. “A lot of people came last weekend because of the Mustang Rally.”
At Johnny B. Goods restaurant, server Gina Schiappa echoed those sentiments. Though she was busy taking orders and serving food behind the counter most the day, she said this Saturday was what she is calling “typical.”
However, the Mustang car show, which drew crowds of people looking at about 400 cars, has been the big Saturday so far.
“I’m thinking that next weekend will be slammed for us,” she predicted. “It’s the weekend before the holiday.”
For Mike and John Lockhart, who were making their way into Johnny B. Goods, they said they understood why people make trips to Steamboat Springs in the summer.
“This place is a lot more fun than he other places we go (for baseball),” Mike said.
“There are better restaurants and more things to do.
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