A pair of youth sports tournaments in Moscow, Idaho, that had drawn large crowds to the area were shut down suddenly by the city’s mayor.
The Ash Rattler Wood Bat Tournament, and the Harvest Cup soccer tournament drew more than 100 baseball and soccer teams to Moscow over the weekend.
Officials ordered the tournaments to halt around 9 a.m Sunday morning.
According to mayor Bill Lambert, the tournaments had to be cancelled because too many people were attending the events and few were wearing masks or observing safe social distancing guidelines.
Lambert said organizers had agreed to follow local guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but ultimately the crowds were too large and the people in attendance were not practicing safe behaviors.
“We’ve got to protect our citizens, our businesses and our town,” Lambert told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. “It’s a very sad thing, but in my opinion it’s the right thing to do,” Lambert said.
The Eastern Washington Surf Soccer Club, the organizations behind the Harvest Cup tournament, posted a message to Facebook: “For the record, everyone at all fields (Sunday) were incredible. Everyone was masking and distancing and doing everything correctly. Unfortunately, yesterday (Saturday) was not and the town continues to bombard the mayor to shut down our tournament as well as baseball.”
McKay Bodily, president of Idaho Catch, a baseball program from Idaho’s Treasure Valley that participated in the Ash Rattler Wood Bat Tournament, believes the cancelation of the tournaments was politically motivated. The baseball tournament took place at the Moscow School District Community Playfields and Ghormley Park.
Bodily said teams that traveled to Moscow spent a lot of money to do so.
He said that cancelling the tournament in its final day made no sense, as many teams had already been eliminated and most of the scheduled games were completed.
Bodily also said that most of the people involved in the tournament wore masks.
“Everyone involved, we’ve all taken the stance that we’ll follow the rules as long as we can play the game,” he said.