Football season is here.
From the NFL to the youth level, millions of players across the country are donning pads and ready to embark on another season.
The Sierra Youth Football League (SYFL) is no different, as an estimated 14,000 visitors are expected to roar into Fallon for the league’s annual SYFL Experience on Saturday at Churchill County High School.
The jamboree is the official kickoff for teams to practice, weigh in and engage in scrimmages before the season commences on Aug. 25. Teams will come from throughout Northern Nevada and California (Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Bishop and Lassen) and will be treated to what the city of Fallon hopes is the best SYFL Experience to date.
“I think we have a great plan in place,” said Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority. “Saturday all hands will be on deck and put Fallon in the best light we can.”
The city has held the jamboree for the past three years after luring the event away from Sparks. The vast practice fields at CCHS provide the teams and visitors with four fields, a massive concession stand and plenty of shaded areas, as the forecast calls for temperatures near 100 degrees.
Gray said due to excessive temperatures, additional shaded areas, water stations and cooling misters will be provided.
“Water stations will be fully stocked and manned,” he said. “We encourage people to bring in water.”
A gigantic event such as the SYFL calls for a Herculean effort from volunteers. CCHS athletes, coaches plus city of Fallon employees will litter the event to provide food, drinks and any assistance to provide another sparkling experience for the expected crowd.
Parking, which was a concern at Golden Eagle Regional Park in Sparks, will be provided at the Churchill County Fairgrounds across the street from CCHS. Gray said the city along with the Fallon Police Department, Churchill County Sheriff's Office and Nevada Highway Patrol have a detailed plan for the influx of visitors. Parents, players and coaches will be allowed to safely cross Sheckler Road to the school.
Teams will begin to flood into Fallon tonight as the youngest teams begin their experience at about 7 a.m. on Saturday.
“I think the city is ready to host this big group,” Gray said. “Some will arrive Friday night because they scrimmage early.”
Local business, meanwhile, are preparing for the massive rush of people, Gray said. Last year, local restaurants and other businesses displayed signs throughout town to entice potential customers.
Gray said several business in the past have run specials for the SYFL in addition to advertising in the SYFL's annual tab. Pizza Barn and Wal-Mart, Gray said, have targeted Saturday with specials for the respective establishments.
Several of the teams will return in the fall to play against their Fallon counterparts, and Gray said Saturday is an opportunity for visitors to explore the city and become familiar with local businesses.
“The more familiar they (visitors) get and more comfortable they get with our community, I think it’s a better experience all around,” he said. “Our hosting this event does so many things relative to introducing people to the community, interact and spend money.”