Decades later, with Triple Crown Sports involved with numerous high-profile youth events and a large footprint in the worlds of college basketball, softball and volleyball, it’s hard to believe adult slowpitch softball was the root of it all.
But that’s the case – Dave King and his wife, Annette, were so disappointed in a tournament experience in 1982 that they cooked up their own vision and ran a 32-team event in Meeker, CO., adding two more to the menu the next year and informally calling that the Triple Crown with two events held in Grand Junction and one in Steamboat Springs.
By 1986, 400 teams are playing in the series, and Dave quits his job in the insurance industry in 1987 to formally launch TCS as a company. National sponsors start to get involved as the TCS model catches fire with thousands of teams jumping in every year. An international touch is added with a tournament in Puerto Vallarta in 1991, and in 1993 ESPN televises the TCS finals in Steamboat Springs. More than 3,500 teams play in 132 tournaments; events are started in Australia and England.
Through all of this, Triple Crown is also developing and dominating arenas of youth baseball and fastpitch softball, while running college events in the US and internationally. That diversification proves very wise, as the run of adult slow-pitch was beginning to slow.
After 27 years, Triple Crown closed down its slow-pitch softball division – about 1,600 tournaments were produced by TCS, servicing about 54,000 teams. But the world had changed; adult slow-pitch numbers were 20% of what they were in 1995.