By Ben Wolf
Saturday, April 14, 2007
It's called Battle of the Border, the longest running charity softball tournament in state of Georgia.
"We just heard it's where the big boys are at and we wanted to absolutely be a part of it," said Andrew Regosta, a player from Ocala, FL.
More than 100 teams from throughout the southeastern United States are in Lowndes County for a part of the action, but the weekend isn't just about softball. Each player is required to bring three cans of food and the entrance fee for fans is one can of food to be donated to charity.
"We did get a whole trunk full, so I'm sure it's good for the Valdosta community. Anytime you can give back to such a good event as this it goes a long way," said Lee Payne, a player from Tifton, GA.
County officials estimate Battle of the Border has brought nearly 15,000 people to the county. Combine that with the nationwide golf tour and a Brian McKnight concert all in the same weekend, and it all adds up to a huge economic impact.
"The first time that I know of that we did not have enough motel rooms in Valdosta-Lowndes County to handle everyone coming to our county this weekend," said Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rod Casey.
While there will only be a handful of teams who win in each division, Lowndes County is ultimately the big winner when all is said and done.
The tournament director expects to collect more than 5,000 cans of food for the needy by the end of the tournament.