While you are gorging yourself on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, LGBT softball teams from the US and Canada will be battling it out to bring home the title of 2017 Hurricane Showdown Champions! The 24th annual showdown, presented by the South Florida Amateur Athletic Association (SFAAA) and Prudential, will draw hundreds of LGBT softball players to the Fort Lauderdale area over Thanksgiving weekend. With legendary nightlife, gorgeous weather and exceptional gay and lesbian hospitality, South Florida is the perfect location to host the nation’s premiere LGBT sporting event.
Beginning as early as Wednesday, November 22nd, over 50 teams will convene on Ft. Lauderdale with the hopes of dethroning their division’s reigning champion. This year’s Hurricane Showdown takes place at two locations, Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale and Brian Piccolo Sports Park in Cooper City, with each team playing at least five games during the three-day tournament. The first set of games are scheduled to take place late afternoon/early evening on Friday the 24th at Mills Pond, followed by games at Piccolo Park on Saturday and Sunday. The showdown concludes Sunday afternoon at Mills Pond with the championship games for all three divisions.
RELATED: Hurricane Showdown 2016 Photos
The tournament places the teams into three divisions: B Division, C Division and D Division. All teams play three round-robin games to determine seeding for the double-elimination tournament, which begins Saturday early afternoon. Winning trophies will be awarded to the top teams in all three divisions, and this year each winning player will receive a duffle bag at the Closing Ceremony at the Alibi on Sunday night. Current title holders, Fort Lauderdale’s Noize and Wolfpack, along with Washington DC’s Envy, and are back this year to defend their respective division’s title!
“There is a wider variety of teams this year, including more from Washington DC, which I’m really excited about,” states Tournament Director Michael Moody.
Two teams will be traveling across country borders to play in this year’s tournament. Toronto Outlaws and Woody’s Woodpeckers, both representing Toronto, Canada, plan their entire season around this event. “They plan all year to come down to South Florida,” according to Moody. These teams usually rent a house and stay for at least a week, while sightseeing and taking in all the gorgeous weather South Florida offers this time of year.
One of the favorite events for participants and non-participants is Friday night’s Home Run Derby at Mills Pond. The derby, sponsored by the Broward Ball Busters, invites anyone who is interested to try their hand at hitting 10 balls as far as they can for 10 dollars. All proceeds go directly to The Poverello Center, and participants do not need to be involved with the tournament to take part in the derby. The best part is that the winner walks away with a 100-dollar cash prize!
All are also encouraged to come to Mills Pond on Sunday, as the tournament will be giving away prizes like weekend stays at local resorts, dinners for two at area restaurants and softball bats among other giveaways.
An assortment of amazing food and great beer will be available for purchase at both venues.
However, there is more to this weekend than just competition. With Fort Lauderdale beach just steps away, the host hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach, welcome athletes by offering them excellent amenities, and unsurpassed views of the paradise many of us living here take for granted. Then, it’s time for the athletes to experience what exceptional hospitality truly is as they make their way to Wilton Drive. Starting with the Pre-Registration Party on Wednesday the 23rd at the Alibi’s Monkey Bar, event participants will have the chance to experience all that the drive has to offer. There are parties every night during the weekend from the free orphan’s Thanksgiving Dinner and registration party on Thursday the 23rd at The Pub, followed by events at GYM Bar Friday night, Scandals late afternoon Saturday and Southern Nights Saturday night. Then, it’s back to Alibi on Sunday night for the trophy presentations and closing party.
All players will receive bracelets to mark their participation. These bracelets can be worn to secure discounts at local businesses not just during Thanksgiving weekend, but through the rest of the holidays in December.
Although Prudential is the main sponsor of the tournament, there are other area businesses assisting with the event. These businesses include Impact Imagery, Realtors Kenny Silverman and Scott Ryan, Moody Electric, as well as South Florida Gay News and Hot Spots.
“I’m really excited that we have not only a lot more sponsors this year, but that we also have a lot more of the community getting involved,” exclaimed Moody.
After you’re done feasting with family and friends, head over to the fields to watch these superior athletes go head-to-head and see who will walk away with the title of the 2017 Hurricane Showdown Champion!
For more information on the Hurricane Showdown, go to: HurricaneShowdown.net.