SHERIDAN — Soccer moms have been sacrificing their Mother’s Day weekend to the Snickers Cup for nine years now.
The annual Mother’s Day weekend youth soccer tournament invades Sheridan this weekend, with an estimated 1,950 players congregating at the Big Horn Equestrian Center for two days of competition.
“They like the equestrian center, and they really like the way we try to keep it very efficient,” tournament director Jimmy Legerski said. “Games are always on time and people like that it runs very smoothly.”
While the tournament spans two days, set up is a much bigger task. Volunteers began Wednesday surveying fields and today they’ll be painting lines. Goals will be set up Friday in time for the first games Saturday. Approximately 150 volunteers make for a seamless event.
Each team is guaranteed three games, with about 228 games played in total. That means a lot of referees, at least 110, some traveling from as far as Colorado. This year’s tournament registration was slightly larger than usual and 121 teams are expected.
The Sheridan County Soccer Association is as strong as ever; Sheridan will have 10 teams in this year’s Snickers Cup.
“With the population base we have in Sheridan, I think that’s about as big as it’s going to get,” Legerski said.
An estimated 6,000 spectators follow teams from towns all over Wyoming and as far as Bozeman, Mont., and Gering, Neb., bringing an influx of business to Sheridan at the beginning of tourism season.
“It’s another great event that we bring to our community, not only for the youth but for parents and business people to come and spend their money here,” Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dixie Johnson said.
“You never know other ways that kind of community exposure is going to lead to,” she added.
Johnson said that she always asks hotel managers to keep their prices competitive during Snickers Cup weekend in order to encourage teams from places like Casper to stay the night instead of making the drive back and forth each day.
“The more of these kinds of events, the better it is for our town,” Johnson said. “Our businesses should put their best foot forward and be welcoming to these people.
“Sheridan is one of the best places in our region to live, and you never know what ways people will find to come back after they come here and see that.”