For eight years, the National Baseball Congress "Hap" Dumont baseball tournament was a staple in Brainerd.
Each summer, a dozen or so teams from all parts of the country converged on the lakes area to play baseball.
But, after a closer look at tournament expenses last year, the Brainerd Parks and Recreation board decided the NBC would need to start chipping in to offset costs if the tournament was to return.
The NBC balked at the notion of helping to pay costs and moved this year's tournament to Casper, Wyo.
"One of the things the park board requested after last year's tournament," Recreation Specialist and last year's Dumont tournament director Tony Sailer said, "was that I write a letter to the NBC board of directors and point a few things out.
"I pointed out that we were paying for this, this, this and this, and they weren't paying for anything. I received a one-sentence letter back from them a month later saying they read the letter with some interest. That was it."
In the past, the NBC required, among other expenses, that the host site pay for umpires ($2,880), trophies ($1,613), pre-tournament banquet ($1,246), hosting fee ($750), a hotel room for an NBC official for the week ($537) and a banquet speaker ($1,000).
In 2002 Brainerd lost $7,232 hosting the Dumont tournament. Last year, the city made $204 due to support from the business community and cost cutting measures.
In 2002, Brainerd lost $7,232 hosting the Dumont tournament. Last year, the city made $204 due to support from the business community and cost cutting measures.
The Brainerd Lions Club paid the cost of trophies and the Brainerd Eagles Club paid for most the banquet, resulting in a net savings of $3,200 from the 2002 expense.
"There were organizations and businesses in this town that supported the tournament," Sailer said. "The Lions and Eagles helped us out immensely. When it comes to kids, this community will jump in and help. We found places where we could cut corners and people at the tournament never even noticed."
Sailer pointed out that he is keeping an eye out for a national tournament to take the place of the Hap Dumont. Organizations like the Minnesota Sports Federation, the United States Specialty Sports Association and the Amateur Athletic Union are all possible sanctioning bodies.
Those organizations usually help host cities defray costs by paying for umpires and trophies.
"USSSA has discussed having a national tournament up here," Sailer said. "Their nationals often have 50 teams at them and the problem there is that we'd have to use area fields like Pierz, Cross Lake, Nisswa or Staples. It would be mind boggling trying to keep that all going."
The Brainerd area will still have the same amount of youth tournaments. It will host four baseball state qualifying tournaments, a 15-year-old state baseball tournament and two youth softball state tournaments.
The goal of getting a national tournament back to Brainerd will be something Sailer and the Parks and Recreation Department will work on for the future.
Sailer doesn't question the kids' enthusiasm to play in a national tournament. Instead, he questions whether adults in the area want big, national tournaments to come to town.
"I would like to see a national tournament here again, under the right circumstances," said Sailer. "It's a great location and it's great advertising for the city. And, we have a couple of great ballparks. I love baseball and this is a baseball town.
"But I never saw any of the die-hard baseball fans at any of the games so does the town want it? I know the kids want it. But do the adults want it? That's the question."
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