Fright Fest draws hundreds of youth soccer teams to Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The 2021 Fright Fest concluded Sunday after dozens of final tournaments took place. Hundreds of players made the trek to the area from South Dakota and surrounding states.

Almost 160 youth soccer teams from around the west brought their best efforts to the grass at the Dakota Fields Sports Complex this weekend. The event draws teams from six different states, which helps build relationships between small western towns and puts Rapid City at the core of those friendships.

David Sharp, director of coaching with Black Hills Rapids, talked about the comradery amongst the competition.

“This complex we have is fantastic, and teams love coming here so we have a great relationship with Wyoming and the other clubs around us,” he says. 

Girls wait to jump into Fright Fest gameIn fact, about 100 of the teams were from out of state, which brought plenty of business to the area over the weekend.

“You figure there’s an average of 14 players per team, so that’s a huge impact. All of the hotels are full, and of course the restaurants feel a big part of it,” adds Sharp.

Nearly 300 games were held, but plenty of activities took place off the field to celebrate the upcoming holiday. “It’s a Fright Fest, so it’s obviously Halloween themed. We do face painting and a lot off different fun things- a Trunk-or-Treat thing during the day yesterday. But ultimately it’s a competitive soccer tournament, so kids are here to compete and play at a high level.”

Organizers also note that the Fright Fest tournament is a way for kids to partake in the excitement of Halloween in a more healthy way- by playing the sport they love.

“They’re still being competitive but you’ll see them with their faces painted and things like that so it’s also a lot of fun for them,” Sharp explains.

Aside from the economic benefits, organizers say they designed the event to be fun for players and their families, despite the inherent competition between the teams.

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