Tiger Classic tournament will bring 9,000-plus to Farmington this weekendMark Steffes may be kind of tired come next Monday morning. It takes a lot of time, organization and energy to pull off Farmington Traveling Basketball’s annual Tiger Classic tournament. Actually, exhausted might be more like it. Exhausted, but happy.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Mark Steffes may be kind of tired come next Monday morning. It takes a lot of time, organization and energy to pull off Farmington Traveling Basketball’s annual Tiger Classic tournament.
Actually, exhausted might be more like it. Exhausted, but happy.
Director of the Tiger Classic for the past three years, Steffes has spent months getting ready for one of the biggest weekends of his year – and one of the biggest boys traveling basketball tournaments in Minnesota. With 186 teams registered, and two days full of basketball, he’s ready to go.
The Tiger Classic is in its 24th year in Farmington, Steffes said, and it’s earned a reputation for being one of the best tournaments of its kind for teams of boys in fourth through eighth grade. Teams come from area communities like Lakeville, Hastings, Woodbury and Bloomington, but there are also several teams coming from Wisconsin. Last year, teams from Iowa and South Dakota registered, as well.
“It’s one of the larger tournaments in the state on the boys side,” Steffes said. “Last year, we gave out 9,000 wristbands over the weekend. That was roughly about 4,500 people each day.”
Of the teams enrolled in this year’s Tiger Classic, 15 are from Farmington. The Farmington Traveling Basketball program is a feeder to the Farmington High School junior varsity and varsity teams, Steffes said, and the Tiger Classic is one of the biggest fundraisers the program has.
“Thanks to this tournament, we’ll be able to fund more camps for the players,” Steffes said. “That will really help the varsity program in a few years, because we’re giving them better prepared players.”
The first round of Saturday games starts at 8 a.m., and the last games will start at 8:50 p.m. At any given time during the day there will be 13 games running concurrently on courts at Riverview Elementary School, Boeckman Middle School and Farmington High School.
It takes a lot of work, by a lot of people, to run the Tiger Classic, Steffes said. Games are officiated by professional, certified referees who have been trained to officiate, at the very least, varsity-level games. The time clocks are run by FHS varsity basketball players who volunteer time. In return, Farmington Traveling Basketball donates funds to the FHS program. Parents and boosters run the concession stands.
“It’s a very long weekend. By Sunday, we’re very tired but it’s rewarding to get it all done,” Steffes said.
In an effort to benefit the community as a whole, Steffes has been in contact with the Farmington Business Association to promote this weekend’s Dazzle Day events, too. The FBA will have a table set up at the tournament, and will hand out literature to promote Farmington to visiting teams.
The basketball games are open to the public, at a cost of $5 at the door.