Sports have a major impact on The Bend’s economy.
Notre Dame football home games, along with those of other major sports at the university, draw visitors from all over the country. Yet how sports interact with the community goes far beyond Notre Dame.
Youth sports — hockey, lacrosse, swimming, baseball and more — are significant drivers of visitor activity in the area. Couple that with the occasional professional event and you have a dynamic, year-round sports scene.
But with coronavirus and its impact on large gatherings, 2020 is shaping up a little different. Tournaments and other events have been postponed or canceled outright. Whole seasons, like those of the South Bend Lions and South Bend Cubs, have been scrubbed.
Sports, however, are on the rebound. Phased reopening in Indiana opens the door for games to begin again. Here’s a look at how things are shaping up.
America’s Youth on Parade
The biggest baton twirling competition in the country, AYOP has been held in the The Bend for decades. Organizers canceled this year’s event (scheduled for July 21-25) and will resume in 2021.
South Bend has become an undisputed youth hockey destination since the opening of Compton Family Ice Arena at Notre Dame. Compton pairs with the Ice Box to host tournaments practically every weekend throughout the season. Hockey Time Productions and 200×85 will combine to put on about 20 tournaments between September 2019 and April 2020, drawing teams from around the country. And that doesn’t include local and regional tournaments, plus some additional showcases. In 2019, youth hockey accounted for 28 events, 23,139 room nights, 43,594 attendees and $13.6 million in economic impact.
Lacrosse is among the first sports to bounce back into action. Rip the Duck (scheduled for May) was canceled but has rescheduled with 2021 dates already confirmed. Rip the Wave is still on for July 18-9. Lacrosse America is moving forward with Luck O’ the Draw, set for June 20, as a one-day tournament. It will play another tournament in July too.
After hosting the 2019 U.S. Senior Open at Warren Golf Course, The Bend has cemented itself as a premier Midwest golf destination. It’s not just one major event, however, that lends to this reputation. Blackthorn Golf Club has hosted the Four Winds Invitational, an LPGA Symetra Tour event, for years. It returns (July 27-Aug. 2) after being rescheduled. Knollwood Country Club will have youth golfers from around the country on one of its courses from July 26-30 for an American Junior Golf Association event. Last year the AJGA event attracted 96 players total from 19 states and five countries.
Bowling was set to emerge in 2020 as a major theme thanks in large part to one event – the Midwest Women’s Bowling Tournament. Unfortunately, it’s been pushed back a year. Spanning six weekends through spring 2021, the tournament expects approximately 1,500 bowlers. Singles and doubles competitions will be held at Chippewa Bowl in South Bend. Signature Lanes in Elkhart is hosting the team events.
All eyes in the motocross world typically turn to Redbud MX on July 4 as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship swings through nearby Buchanan, Mich. This year’s event will be a little later as it’s been pushed back to August, although dates aren’t yet confirmed. Redbud is the most popular race on the circuit, bringing in about 28,000 spectators with many choosing to spend their overnights in The Bend.
All the sudden, South Bend has become a regular stop for cornhole events. The American Cornhole League hosted a qualifying event June 5-6 at the 1st Source Bank Performance Center/Four Winds Field, complete with social distancing in place and a live ESPN broadcast. The American Cornhole Organization plans to be back at Century Center Nov. 27-28. The events combine to bring in over 300 players.
Other Notable Events
For the first time, The Bend is home to a darts tournament. The Arachnid 360 Indiana Bullshooter Regional took place at the Ramada by Wyndham from Jan. 17-19 … Sunburst Races are scheduled for Aug. 8 after being postponed from June 6. Runners from around the region will head to downtown South Bend for a 5K, 10K or half marathon. The Hometown Days Wiffleball Tournament is set for July 25-26 in New Carlisle. It welcomes about 70 teams a year.
June 5-6: American Cornhole League Pro Invitational Qualifier, 1st Source Performance Center
June 14-17: Pastime Irish Elite baseball, multiple venues
June 18-21: USSSA Girls Fastpitch, Byers Softball Complex
June 18-21: Pastime Great Lakes TOC baseball, multiple venues
June 19-21: NSA Tournament, Newton Park
June 20: Luck O the Draw lacrosse, Jr. Irish Soccer Complex/Indiana Invaders
June 25-28: Pastime All Prospect Irish Select baseball, multiple venues
June 26-28: USSSA Girls Fastpitch, Byers Softball Complex
July 3-5: BPA Fourth of July Spectacular, Newton Park
July 9-12: Pastime Best of the Great Lakes baseball, multiple venues
July 10-12: Pipe City Lacrosse Festival, Jr. Irish Soccer Complex/Indiana Invaders
July 10-12: ETS Championship, Newton Park/Byers
July 17-19: OneXSports 1Floorball, Leeper Park
July 18-19: Rip the Wave Lacrosse, Jr. Irish Soccer Complex
July 25-29: BPA Bronze World Series, Newton Park
July 25-26: Hometown Days Wiffle Ball tournament, New Carlisle
July 26-30: AJGA Golf Tournament, Knollwood Country Club
July 27-Aug. 2: LPGA Symetra Tour Four Winds Invitational, Blackthorn Golf Club
July 30-Aug. 2: USA Softball Men’s Major Fastpitch, Byers Softball Complex
July 31-Aug. 2: BPA End of Summer Bash, Newton Park
Aug. 6-9: Pastime baseball, multiple venues
Aug. 7-8: Sunburst Races, Four Winds Field
Aug. 7-9: BPA All-Star Challenge, Newton Park
September 4-6: Jr. Irish Labor Day Invitational, Jr. Irish Soccer Complex
Sept. 4-6: Hockey Tournament, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Oct. 2-4: HockeyTime Productions, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Oct. 16-18: 200×85 Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Oct. 23-25: 200×85 Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Oct. 24-25: USTA Girls Junior Open, South Bend Racquet Club
Nov. 13-15: HockeyTime Productions, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Nov. 27-28: American Cornhole Organization – Heartland Conference, Century Center
Nov. 27-29: 200×85 Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Nov. 27-29: St. Joe Thanksgiving Tournament, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Dec. 4-6: HockeyTime Productions, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Dec. 11-13: MHSHL South Bend Crossover, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Dec. 11-13: 200×85 Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Dec. 18-20: SuperSeries Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box
Dec. 26-28: 200×85 Hockey, Compton Family Ice Arena/Ice Box