Bullhead City: The Hotspot for Sports Tourism
22 Nov, 2019
Boasting an estimated 360 days of sunshine each year, Bullhead City, Arizona is quickly becoming the nation’s hotspot for sports tourism. Located on Arizona’s west coast, along the banks of the Colorado River, Bullhead City is centrally located between Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
With over 11,000 hotel rooms available in Bullhead City and its sister city, Laughlin, Nevada with its warm weather and mild winters, Bullhead City provides the perfect destination for year-round sports and family vacations. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful desert scenery, terrific parks, hiking and biking trails, while water enthusiasts appreciate the Colorado River and Lake Mohave. Both are perfect for boating, water skiing, swimming, personal watercraft use and fishing.
The area offers a variety of lodging accommodations from campgrounds, RV parks, motels and full-service resorts. Other area attractions include golf courses, miles of sandy beaches, a variety of watercraft rental options, guided fishing and kayak tours, casinos, paddlewheel boat tours, theaters, Route 66, the old mining town of Oatman, horseback riding and gold mine tours.
Bullhead City has been named the most affordable place to live and visit in Arizona for the past several years. It serves as the retail hub of Mohave County, Arizona and Southern Clark County, Nevada. More than 100,000 people live within a 15-mile radius of the city, while an estimated 2 million tourists visit the area annually.
The city has targeted all segments of the sports tourist population, ranging from youth to senior, and offers a diverse array of sports. Bullhead City’s sports complexes provide 14 lighted baseball/softball fields, over 50 acres of dedicated, lighted soccer fields, six indoor pickleball courts, and eight outdoor, lighted pickleball courts, most of which are located in Rotary Park.
The Rotary Park Sports Complex is centrally located in the city and is comprised of over 300 acres of Colorado Riverfront land and, in addition to the various sports fields/courts, the complex also offers beach access, walking trails, ramadas with barbecues and a launch ramp. With the addition of the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse, a 40,000-square-foot indoor stadium, Bullhead City can now accommodate an additional eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, 32 pickleball courts, wrestling, indoor soccer and football, plus much more!
“Our goal is to have at least one tournament or sporting event every week of the year,” said Toby Cotter, Bullhead City’s City Manager. The city has already hosted and partnered with nearly 10 private promoters to accomplish its goals.
Bullhead City works closely with its local AYSO Soccer Organization to host two large youth soccer tournaments each spring. Both River Daze and Colorado River Invitational Tournament (CRIT), bring in teams from all over the southwest. CRIT is going on its 22nd year and is run entirely by volunteers. Nearly 150 teams participate in addition to the approximately 4,500 spectators. The AYSO area Finals are hosted in Bullhead City every year, and every three years the city hosts the Western Regional Finals.
Softball is another popular venue in town. Tournaments for girls’ fast pitch, adult slow pitch and senior softball have grown in popularity. Bullhead City has hosted up to 70 teams in multiple adult tournaments. Bullhead City has several girls fast pitch tournaments each year, but none bigger than the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions. Fifty of the top high school girls teams in the southwest meet in one tournament. The winner almost always sits at the top of the Max Prep, USA TODAY and AP Polls.
Senior softball has grown with the partnerships of Senior Softball USA (SSUSA) and Las Vegas Softball Association (LVSSA). The city hosts spring and fall classic tournaments, and partners with our Senior Games softball, a qualifier January tournament, as well as a Spring Worlds Tournament. Teams come from all over the United States and Canada to participate.
In addition to soccer and softball, Bullhead City also conducts pickleball tournaments, basketball and baseball tournaments, but one of Bullhead City’s marquee events is the Bullhead City-Laughlin Senior Games, now entering its fourth year. Over 2,000 athletes are expected participate in the upcoming games. Sports categories will include softball, pickleball, golf, track and field, basketball, power lifting, swimming, cornhole, horseshoes, volleyball and shooting events. Senior athletes can participate in multiple sports and enjoy the other activities as well, including mixers, opening ceremonies, and medal presentations.
As stated by City Manager Toby Cotter, “Sports tourism is a great and growing segment of our tourism economy, in addition to our robust winter visitors and summer tourists.”
Bullhead City has positioned itself to strongly sustain sports tourism for years to come. The city has invested in the infrastructure needed to support large scale events, and has the community support to handle the large influx of people. The city strives to reach agreements that benefit the promoters and the community.