Bootheel Classic set for this weekend
SIKESTON -- Starting Saturday, the Sikeston Area Youth Soccer fields will once again be packed with kids as 128 teams participate in the annual Montgomery Bank Bootheel Classic.
"This is one of the the biggest tournaments between St. Louis and Memphis," tournament director Amy Hay said. "It's also one of the biggest events in Sikeston next to the rodeo."
Age groups range from kindergarden to high school age, with boy, girl and coed divisions.
Sandwiched between a similar tournament in Perryville the weekend prior and one in Cape Girardeau the weekend after, the Bootheel Classic will host teams from as far away as Farmington, Kennett and Martin, Tenn.
"Overall things have been going smooth," Hay said of event preparations. "I had a lot more volunteers willing to get things prepared this year. So, so far so good."
This will be Hay's second year as tournament director and first year as organization president after having been involved with the Sikeston Youth Soccer League (SYSL), who hosts the event, for 15 years.
Over those years, Hay said she has seen the tournament grow by leaps and bounds.
"I can remember when it was only 40 or 50 teams," she said. "Each year it seems to grow. Last year was the biggest I can ever recall being a 132 teams and right now we're at 128."
With so many teams now taking part, Hay added one of the most challenging things running the tournament is keeping everyone happy with the schedule.
"The most challenge things is of course you want to accommodate everybody, but you can't," she said. "Someone's going to have to have the early games and someone's going to have to have the late games."
Play will start Saturday at 8 a.m. with the last game of the night kicking off at 7:15 p.m. Play will once again start at 8 a.m. Sunday with the tournament wrapping up with the final championship games starting at 4:45 p.m.
Admission to the tournament is free of charge.
"Anybody can feel free to come out," Hay said. "Looking forward to the weekend getting here and we're excited for everyone to show up and have a great time."