SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) –Wednesday was the second day of the NAIA volleyball tournament at the Tyson Events Center. Thirty-two teams from all over the country are battling it out for the national championship title, but there are a lot more people than just the players putting in work during the tournament.
Every year it takes about 75 volunteers to help keep the event running smoothly. Most of those volunteers have done it for years and have stories to tell.
“One year they came in, and we had a really bad snowstorm and so I went back home and got them winter coats and made them warm while they were here,” said Patricia Collins, who has been volunteering since the tournament came to Sioux City.
For many Siouxlanders volunteering at the NAIA, tournaments have become a tradition.
“They get hooked when they are here. It’s an old home week when it comes to NAIA. It’s a reunion and when people come back. It’s really fun to see those relationships that have continued throughout the years,” said Corey Westra, the co-tournament director of the NAIA.
“I just like the interactions they have with the athletes these student-athletes. They put in a lot of time; their personalities are always special,” said Edward Wiltgen, a member of the Volunteer Committee.
For the past 12 years, over 70 volunteers have dedicated hours of their time to make the girls feel as welcomed as possible.
“Absolutely could not do without them. The manpower that they offer us is invaluable. We absolutely need them for this tournament, and we are so fortunate in Siouxland that we have this large database that we can pull from two times a year. We’re asking for a lot, we’re asking for a commitment a week now and a week later for basketball, and every year they come through for us,” said Westra.
Volunteers said they keep coming back because of the talented girls they get to meet each tournament.
“I had Oregon in one of our locker rooms, and they were wonderful girls. I’m sure in locker rooms 2, 3, 4, and 5 were all the same, so they are all excited to be here, and we are happy to have them here,” said Collins.