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Local families respond with enthusiasm to Boise Library! Mario Kart tournament

Families crowded into the Boise State Esports arena on September 9 for a thrilling community event. The Boise Library! at Bown Crossing, in conjunction with Boise State Esports, hosted a Mario Kart tournament for local residents. Excited youths lined the rows of seats in the arena for what was many’s first foray into competitive gaming.

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A mix of parents and children watch the Library! tournament.
Planning the Event

Danielle Boyd, a branch librarian at the Bown Crossing Library, spearheaded the formation of the event.

“When we originally planned our Mario Kart Tournament for June we were thinking we would run it in the largest meeting room at the Library! at Bown Crossing,” says Boyd. “When I reached out to Doc Haskell he was immediately enthusiastic and graciously invited us to hold our tournament in their facilities downtown. There is no substitute for the quality of the production, equipment, and crew that Doc has. Our event immediately gained credibility and a sense of excitement that we wouldn’t have been able to generate using Library facilities alone.

The partnership between Boise State Esports and the Bown Crossing Library! wasn’t initially pictured as a full cooperatively organized tournament. However, Boyd cities the ambition of Esports director Doc Haskell as being a prime reason for why it happened.

“I essentially reached out to Doc Haskell just hoping that he would read my email and actually respond about having a Boise State Esports athlete come out to the Library! at Bown Crossing and be part of our event,” says Boyd. “But Doc wrote me back with such enthusiasm and asked if we would like to hold our event at the Esports Arena downtown. This was an incredible opportunity for the Boise Public Library to create a new local community partner that we had never worked with before.”

An Day at the Races
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Local kids participate in the Library! Mario Kart tournament.

Starting at 7pm, around 20 children excitedly gathered around various television monitors to compete in the tournament. Stations hosting four players at a time were scattered around the building. Some competitors competed up on stage, some on couches, and other in the arena’s stadium seating. The tournament featured a double elimination bracket with several rounds giving everyone multiple chances to play, regardless of final placement. Prizes included gold, silver, and bronze reproductions of Mario Kart trophies for the top finishers. Everyone also received cookies and commemorative pins for their participation in the event.

Local parent Megan Rutte was very excited to see her son, Declan, having fun playing and winning prizes.

“My son Declan had a great time. Declan got to play multiple times,” Rutte commented, “The pin at the end made him feel like he had won. He was so proud of it and was telling everyone all weekend about how he won a badge at the tournament.”

In addition to kids physically playing in the arena, the event was also livestreamed for those who couldn’t attend.

Community Response

Many others expressed nothing but high praise for the event. Parent Lea Bush shared her experience at the tournament.

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A parent looks on as kids compete in a tournament round.

“We were thrilled to participate in the Mario Kart tournament and loved being at the BSU Esports arena. My kids could not say enough great things about the experience. As a mom I loved every minute of it. The BSU staff were excellent hosts and so kind and generous. We especially loved being able to share the live broadcast link with a few folks who could not attend the event. They could watch our kids in a real live Esports tournament! Truly it was magic and I hope the BSU and library staff know how much this meant to our kids. It was just so much fun,” says Bush.

Organizers for the event were also extremely happy with how the days events concluded. Dianne Boyd had these words of praise for Boise State Esports.

“Doc Haskell, Alex Moore, and the rest of the crew are so welcoming and made the experience really special for all of the families and kids,” Boyd said. “They are the reason our events are even possible!”

“They (Boise State) are incredible community partners for the Boise Public Library and we are very much looking forward to our next event with Doc and the Team,” concluded Boyd.

Written by Jacob Palmer.