Just south of Nevada city limits there is a special sparkle that comes as a result of the precious diamonds, a baseball diamonds complex -- Champion Diamonds. This is a precious treasure that has been provided to this community.
This is the 10th year for Champion Diamonds, yet for many of us it seems new. Many of us take this enterprise for granted, not realizing what it means to this community. It is noticeable from the highway and on weekends there are numerous amounts of cars parked at the complex, indicating that many baseball teams are taking the opportunity to compete at Champion Diamonds -- to compete and enjoy our community. This is the best baseball diamonds complex in the Midwest -- right here in our community.
The complexity of Champion Diamonds is greater than what most people in this area might realize. It consists of five baseball diamonds and three softball diamonds, of which, one can also be used for baseball. This is the only complex that has both baseball and softball, with the softball being added this year and is also meeting with success. One of the advantages of having both sports in the complex is those there for baseball can watch some softball and those there for softball can watch baseball.
Needs often expressed in this area are for economic development and for drawing tourists. This is exactly what this enterprise does; it draws tourists to town and adds greatly to the economy of the area. Each week there are approximately 1,600 players and guests coming to town. As a result they are spending money in many ways in the community, at restaurants, motels, filling stations, stores and in other ways.
Name anything else that brings more people to Nevada. This is for every weekend from the beginning of April to the third weekend of July, except for Memorial Day weekend, which provides a weekend for the staff to rest. In total that is about 15 weeks, or a draw of almost a quarter of a million people. Put your economic indicators on that and that is a major economic impact -- from one enterprise. With the multiplier the total impact is millions of dollars.
There are always teams coming from Kansas City. They also come from Wichita, St. Louis, Tulsa and many other cities and states. There is an average of 35 teams each weekend. Each team is assured of two games on Saturday and up to four games on Sunday.
There are four state tournaments being held at Champion Diamonds this year, the highest number for any diamonds in the state. This is being done in spite of us being located to the west part of the state. This in itself speaks well of the local complex.
Recently while visiting with parents with a baseball team, they indicated that they liked to come to Nevada for their games. A good indication is that many teams come back from previous years.
Successful! Yes, Champion diamonds has been and is highly successful. Still, it operates with little fanfare to the community. This enterprise gives much to the community. Still, the community support is somewhat lacking. There are many things that could be done, including annexation of the complex into the city limits and improving the infrastructure, including an outer road along U.S. Highway 71. It is true such gestures would benefit Champion Diamonds and as a result it benefits the entire community. After all, multitudes of people have become acquainted with Nevada as a result of Champion Diamonds. Nevada has become known to many people as the home of Champion Diamonds.
Dr. Russ and Joy Kemm are the owners of Champion Diamonds. It was their concept and they have developed it into what it is today. I was at a luncheon meeting when they presented the idea and what was planned. I may have been setting across from the table from them. Anyway, they keep giving me a hard time, because as they expressed it, I did not think that the idea would ever work -- I acutely did not. They knew baseball and the concept and proved that I was wrong. They have given this community something that many communities envy and wished that they had. For them to give a hard time, it is justifiable.
A week ago Sunday, I went out to Champion Diamonds toward the late afternoon. When I located Russ, he was in a room watching the radar on a computer and listening to the weather bureau on the radio. There was a bad weather cell in the area which could be coming to Nevada. Depending on how it developed, preparations were being made to possibly clear the fields, or if it was bad enough for everyone to clear the area. His comment was, "there is more to this than growing grass." Luck would have it, the cell dissolved and the games were continued without interruptions. With all of the rain this year, he said that they only had a wash out on one Sunday.
There are 16 umpires each day for the games. They are trained adults. In total there are about 25 to 30 people working each weekend. Russ, his son and others had been out there at 5 a.m. on that Saturday and worked until 11 p.m. -- that is a day of work.
Among the reason credited for their success includes customer service and a tournament director being visual at all times. Improvements are continuously being made with more improvements planned for the future.
Results of the games are input on Champion Diamond's Web site at www.championdiamonds.com. The results are also posted on the national USSSA Web site. You can also go to the Web site for additional information.
Champion Diamonds has proven to be a major enterprise for Nevada. As a result of 10 successful years at Champion diamonds, it calls for a community celebration. Russ and Joy are deserving of a bouquet of four leaf clovers.