GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The JUCO world series is the highlight of early summer in Grand Junction. “You see people out and about, you see kids running around, playing you hear music playing people dancing. There’s something about it that just sings to the soul. And I think we’re looking forward to that this summer,” says David Foster, a co-owner of Kiln Coffee Bar. And for local businesses in Grand Junction like the Kiln, it’s a sigh of relief to see such a large event back in the valley. “In general we end up getting a lot of foot traffic from not just players but family members that come into town. So it creates a fun family atmosphere for sure,” says Foster.
The pandemic will still have an impact on the event. The tournament itself will be back in mostly the same format as other years, with 10 teams competing.
“The only change this year is that it will be seeded, so by Wednesday before the game on Saturday, the seeds will come out,” says Darren Coltrinari, in charge of Operations for the JUCO World Series Committee.
Covid restrictions will change ticketing. Fans will be allowed but at reduced capacity.
“We’re trying to get as many fans in the stadium as safe as possible. That’s still ongoing. It’ll be fluid. Like I said we’re trying to get as many fans in there as possible, but the accessibility of the players is going to be limited,” says Coltrinari.
Even with these restrictions organizers are ecstatic and see it as a way for the community to experience just a little bit of normalcy again. “We still want to watch baseball,” says Coltrinari. “And that’s the intent for the tournament this year, we’re going to watch baseball.”