The city of Bartlesville and the Bartlesville Sports Commission just finished hosting the Great American Conference Men and Women’s Basketball Championships for the 5th straight year. This is the only home the GAC has known for this championship and have announced they will be back for at least the next 3 years. The BSC hopes to make this the permanent home for this Division II Conference event.
The reasons Bartlesville received a 3 year extension on this tournament are plentiful. We have a great arena out at the high school, we have adequate hotel accommodations, we have numerous attractions in the area, we have great restaurants, and we have some wonderful retail shops. But the main reason we continue to host this tournament is because of the people. We have over 300 volunteer positions to fill every year and the people of our community just keep filling those spots. We have volunteers that work from 1 to 5 sessions and keep coming back year after year. While working at this year’s event I had several people come up and ask how they could volunteer to help next year. All of our volunteers go out of their way to make our guests feel at home and appreciated, whether it be a member of one of the teams, the school administrators, or the out or town fans. The thing we keep hearing over and over is “the people of Bartlesville make us feel welcome”.
We also have great support from individuals and businesses who sponsor our event. It would not be possible for our community to host this tournament without the financial support of our sponsors. Each year many local businesses offer their services, as well as the time of their employees, to help put everything together. We could not do it without them and it is hard to tell them how much their help is appreciated.
While we have many volunteers, like any “organization” there are a few people who are just plain critical to having a well-run event. These folks spend many hours, starting in December each year, working to be sure we are ready when the first week of March rolls around. I don’t dare try to name these people for fear of leaving someone out, but they know who they are and I hope they know how much they are appreciated.
We also have great support from local media. Every year we have billboards all around the city. The local radio stations do interviews and then promote the championships for several weeks leading up to the event. The Examiner Enterprise runs ads promoting the tournament and even writes editorials encouraging people to attend, and finally, Mike Tupa uses a barrel of ink every year writing articles on the GAC Conference and then covering the event game by game.
This is indeed a community effort and one that everyone can be very proud to be a part of, even if you are just a fan that came out to enjoy the games. This is the reason Bartlesville continues to show why we can do things that other communities our size would never dare to strive for.
On behalf of the Bartlesville Sports Commission I want to convey our thanks to everyone that was a part of this event. It is why we love Bartlesville and wouldn’t live anywhere else.