The JUCO World Series isn’t disappointing fans who have traveled from near and far to watch their teams compete. Even though these games are something baseball fans have been looking forward to since last year, it's possible there may be one group even more excited for the tournament.
It's a close contest, but local businesses have been looking forward to this tournament since it ended last year. The JUCO World Series brings in people from around the country, and kicks off the summer business season.
Darshann Ruckman's timing couldn't have been better, or any busier. Her Clarion Inn is hosting the JUCO World Series headquarters this year.
"I took over at the end of February as the general manager," she said. "JUCO has been our baby for the last 20 years."
While the hotel will be non-stop for the next week, it’s welcome business.
"It's definitely a summer kickoff, not only for us, but all of the hotels in the Grand Junction area," Ruckman said.
The JUCO World Series brings teams and spectators to the Valley who may not normally vacation here.
"[JUCO] builds its own culture of excitement for kicking off the tourism season," Visitor and Convention Bureau director Debbie Kovalik said.
In travel related expenses, the Visitor and Convention Bureau estimates JUCO will bring in over $900,000 this week.
"The days that they're here, and put in that what their meal expenses are," Kovalik said of calculating the travelers’ expenses.
But that doesn't even begin to touch JUCO's real economic impact.
"There are so many things we don't really count," JUCO World Series chairman Jamie Hamilton said.
There are professional photographers, advertisers, gas to take care of team buses, and of course, other businesses that offer their services to the teams each year.
"About six years ago, when we looked at it through the Chamber of Commerce, it was between $3.5 and $4 million impact we have for these 10 days that we have here," Hamilton said.
But this business doesn't stop after JUCO ends. People are so impressed with the way they're treated in Grand Junction, whether at the park or in a restaurant, that many want to come back for more.
"People in the area are very hospitable," Ale House general manager Brian Oliver said. "I think it's the locality, I think it's the atmosphere. We try to make it a nice comfortable environment for everybody."
"We love having [the teams] here, we love them in the hotel, we love them in the community," Ruckman added.
This is the 54th year the JUCO World Series has been hosted in Grand Junction, and of course, the new addition will no doubt draw in more spectators and business in the future.
The Visitor and Convention Bureau estimates between the teams and family members traveling for the JUCO tournament, there are about 650 people visiting the valley.