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Fort Lowell Shootout kicks off tourism season

Fort Lowell Shootout kicks off Tucson's tourism season
Posted at 1:06 AM, Jan 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-16 03:06:03-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The 30th annual Fort Lowell Shootout is happening all weekend at the Kino Sports Complex. This year’s tournament brought 315 youth soccer teams from all over the nation and across the border.

"For Visit Tucson, it’s the launch of our tourism season," said Dan Gibson with Visit Tucson. "Followed by the gem show at the end of this month, that’s when things definitely kick into high gear of people coming to Tucson in large numbers.”

Organizers say the tournament brings more than 4 million dollars to the city, and it’s getting bigger every year.

“We’re going to revisit those numbers because as we’ve expanded, it has to be more than that at this point,” Jackson said.

The Shootout kicked off Friday night with its traditional opening parade ceremony.

“You get a sense of it being a bigger thing than kids playing in a park on a weekend," Gibson said. "It has the scale of it, these kids are treated like big-time athletes.”

The parade and strong competition are a few reasons so many come.

“The hotels especially, because we have so many out of town and out of state teams they come and they’re like ‘We want to stay away from the facility, we want to see Tucson,’” Jackson said.

And hotels aren’t the only ones who benefit.

“since Monday is a holiday a lot of times they’ll stay through Monday and take that day to go to the Wildlife Museum, Desert Museum,” Jackson said.

Many of the 200 volunteers and local vendors have been coming to the event since it started in 1991.

“I grew up playing for the club, I coached for the club, and now I have six-year-old boy returning to the club too,” said Fernando Gauna, Owner of Gauna’s Mexican Food.

It’s is a reliable influx of revenue for them as well.

The last two years has been tough with the COVID situation and it's really fun to get back on the field and serve the community,” Gauna said.