February 29, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Sin City Classic Sports Festival has Los Angeles Roots

For those who cannot wait every two years for an iteration of the Olympics, or every four years for Gay Games, there is Sin City Classic Sports Festival in Las Vegas.

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brings together the United State’s finest athletes for a weekend of fun, competition and camaraderie. The Pride LA spoke with tournament director Ken Scearce to get the inside scoop. Check it out:

Can you introduce yourself? 

Growing up in NW Georgia and all through high school and college, I never knew that the gay community was interested in sports; I thought I was possibly the exception. As a life-long sports fanatic, my life changed for the better at the age of 25 when I responded to a newspaper ad recruiting players for a local LGBTQ traveling softball team. A few weeks after responding to that ad, I was playing in my first gay softball tournament in Philadelphia, PA. Twenty-five years later, some of my best friends are people that I met at that first tournament and other tournaments that I attended that same year.   Like many in our community, I count these close friends as my extended family and that includes my closest friends that I have met through LGBTQ sport leagues over the last 25 years. I have lived in Los Angeles since 2005 and am fortunate to have a great man in my life that I met in 2002 at the Gay Softball World Series in Portland, OR. 

In one sentence, what is Sin City Classic? 

The Sin City Classic (SCC) is a collaboration of the top LGBTQ sports leaders in the U.S. working together to provide a fun, competitive and safe environment for our community to come together once a year to compete and connect. 

Can you elaborate more? 

The SCC is operated by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), which is based in Los Angeles. The model that we have created for the SCC is a plug and play for our different sports. This means GLASA takes care of planning all nightly social events, the hotel contracts and logistics and the main website, which allows each sports’ organizers to easily just plug into the fun and focus on their respective sports. Regardless if the sport has 25 or 3,500 athletes, all 24 sports benefit from the over 8,000 athletes participating at one time for four days every January in Las Vegas.  

How is Sin City Classic similar/different than Gay Games

Where the Gay Games rotates around the globe every 4 years, the Sin City Classic is an annual U.S.-based event and always takes place the four days prior to the MLK holiday in Las Vegas.  Soccer is the sport that draws the most international players, mostly from Central and South America. 

Where did the idea come from? Why create the event? 

For many years GLASA hosted a local Los Angeles softball tournament called the Tournament of the Stars; however, because of logistical challenges, including lack of great softball fields, which typical with most big cities, and the geographic challenges with distance between West Hollywood (where people wanted to stay and socialize) and the fields that were being used being in South El Monte, there was a lack of interest in the tournament. GLASA formed a committee to explore the possibility of hosting a tournament in Las Vegas and, after two years of discussions, the first tournament was held in January of 2008 hosting approximately 50 softball teams.  

How has the festival grown in the past 12 years? 

The festival has grown so much because of both the TIME and LOCATION. January is a time of year when there are very few LGBTQ events going on around the U.S. This made it a natural fit for the different sports to join together to form a new annual tournament. As a location, Las Vegas offers so many entertainment options beyond our sporting competitions.  Many athletes arrive early and stay late to join in on the nightly social events and take advantage of the many things that Las Vegas has to offer such as gambling, shows, great restaurants and concerts.  

Why is it important to have a safe space for LGBTQ+ Athletes to gather? 

I remember how I felt as a 25-year-old gay jock thinking that I was different and might not be able to ever openly be myself and play sports again. Once I responded to that ad for competitive softball players, my life changed forever in an amazing way. I am very excited to lead the charge for GLASA in working with the other 23 sport leaders to continue to provide a fun, competitive atmosphere once year.    

Can you tell me a bit about the new sports/social activities this year? 

We added four new sports to the 2020 event; Basketball, Spikeball, Indoor Rowing and Steel Tip Darts. Our Registration and Closing parties change slightly every year to keep it exciting for our athletes.  For our Closing Party on Sunday night, we are excited to have Kristine W, Chad Michael from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lee/Dagger DJ’ing for us and a local LA drag celebrity, Kay Sedia, taking on hosting duties for us. 

What are you most looking forward to? 

Every year, the most gratifying part of my weekend is to walk through the hotel lobby and casino hearing and seeing the fun the athletes are having together; especially when it’s athletes from different sports connecting.    

Related Posts

Apply for New Affordable Senior Housing at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s McCadden Campus

February 28, 2020

February 28, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has announced that applications for new affordable senior housing will be accepted by the Los...

Santa Monica Honors LGBTQ Politician and Heal The Bay CEO on 100th Anniversary of U.S. Women’s Right to Vote

February 28, 2020

February 28, 2020

Honorees Include Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Heal The Bay CEO Dr. Shelley Luce Amidst an election year...

WeHo Opens Nominations For 2020 Rainbow Key Awards

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Nominations will be Accepted Until Thursday, February 27 By Staff Writer The City of West Hollywood is gathering nominations for...

Honoring National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day at the ONE Archive

February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is on Friday, February 7. In the LGBTQ+ community, HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects gay black men...

Q&A: Being Openly Gay at LA Opera

February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020

The scene: Eurydice always imagined that her wedding day would be a day she’d never forget. But after a tragic...

USC One Archives to Host Screening of Film on Black Trans Woman to Honor Black History Month

February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

Meet Mary Jones, a black transgender woman born in New York in 1803. Described as a “man-monster” in the press. ...

LGBT Center to Host Groundbreaking Conference for LGBT Widows and Widowers in L.A.

January 30, 2020

January 30, 2020

Renowned Designer, Author, Advocate Nate Berkus to Give Keynote Address On Saturday, February 29, the Los Angeles LGBT Center will host...

LGBTQ Center of LB Announces 2020 Executive Team for Board of Directors

January 29, 2020

January 29, 2020

The LGBTQ Center Long Beach recently announced its new executive team to lead the organization’s 2020 Board of Directors.  Stella...

Public Outcry Temporarily Saves Los Angeles LGBT Center’s STD, HIV Services

January 28, 2020

January 28, 2020

The temporary agreement restores funding through the end of March. The Los Angeles LGBT Center announced today that it has...

HRC to Honor Dan Levy, Janelle Monáe at Award Ceremony in DTLA

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Award Season is upon us, and the LGBTQ+ Community is not immune. HRC announced today that actor Dan Levy will...

HEALTH FEATURE: Need a Podiatrist?

January 26, 2020

January 26, 2020

Dr. Steven L. Rosenberg treating foot injuries with traditional, regenerative and homeopathic medicine.  By Staff Writer If you suffer from...

VIDEO: South Coast Chorale’s Tribute to Gay & Civil Rights Activist

January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

67 years ago, openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay “lewd conduct” charge for...

IN PHOTOS: WeHo Dodgeball at Sin City Classic LGBTQ+ Sports Festival

January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brought together the United State’s finest athletes last weekend for three...

GUEST COLUMN: Queer Mindfulness Meditation

January 22, 2020

January 22, 2020

InsightLA is a non-profit meditation center offering practices of mindfulness and compassion that are both secular and Buddhist in origin. ...

Honoring Gay Rights & Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin

January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

On this day in history 67 years ago, gay civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay...