Girls softball tourney set through 2020

Fort Dodge will be the home of the girls state softball tournament through 2020, the City Council learned Monday night.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union board of directors voted to keep the tournament in Fort Dodge for the next six years, according to Lori Branderhorst, the city’s director of parks, recreation and forestry.

The tournament will be held July 21-25 at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex for the 44th consecutive year.

The recently approved commitment through 2020 means that the event will be held in Fort Dodge for 50 consecutive years.

”That’s pretty monumental,” Branderhorst said.

”Obviously, we’re thrilled,” she said after the council meeting.

The tournament has been held in Fort Dodge under a series of contracts between the city and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. The current contract will expire at the end of 2015, and Athletic Union officials had said they would consider an extension through 2016.

Branderhorst said she approached Athletic Union officials and asked to start talks regarding a long-term contract extension. She said she was not expecting any action by the board.

She said she was surprised to get an email from John Overton, an assistant director of the Athletic Union, stating that the board voted during its May 24 meeting to hold the tournament in Fort Dodge through 2020.

Contracts between the Athletic Union and the city, Iowa Central Community College and the college’s food service provider, Great Western Dining Service Inc., will now be negotiated. Contracts will be negotiated with the college and the food service company because the teams are housed on the Fort Dodge campus during the tournament.