The Boulder Independence Day Tournament has been one of the nation's largest and most competitive softball recruiting showcases to take place each summer for years.
The tournament and the Colorado Stars club organization that hosts it owes much of its success to decades of effort from Dan Burns, the longtime director of the Boulder IDT. Burns, who also coaches the Stars Gold 18-under team for the organization, guided the Boulder IDT to yet another completed edition over the past week.
Even at 74 years old, Burns doesn't plan to step away from his role as tournament director. He will, however, retire from coaching at the end of the season.
"I'm retiring from coaching but not from running the tournament," Burns said. "Running the tournament is what I do and the profits from the tournament are how we fund our whole organization, you know, all the traveling and that stuff. It's a full-time job and I'm not ready to give that up yet."
This season, Burns' Stars Gold club featured some of the area's top players including Taylor Gilmore, Linnie Malkin, Parker Dannenberg and Lainey Hughes. Stars Gold went 2-4-1 in the tournament, getting eliminated by a 4-0 loss to the SoCal A's in bracket play Saturday.
In his final run through the Boulder IDT he has coached in and organized for decades, Burns said this year's tournament had a different feel to it for him but that he was happy with how everything shook out on the field.
"Thirty-five years is probably enough," Burns said. "I'll be 75 here on my next birthday, and there aren't many guys who are 75 and still coaching. I've had a good run.
"You always wonder when you'll now, how you'll know that it's time. A couple months ago, I kind of just knew. It was after a tournament and I was really tired and stiff, and I told my wife, 'I think this is it.'"
He wasn't coaching on Sunday's final day of this year's Boulder IDT, but Burns did have plenty to do, especially when the weather turned during the championship games. Because of a lightning delay and several out-of-state teams needing to leave for the airport to catch flights home, three of the four divisions decided to crown dual title-winners instead of waiting out the mandatory delay.
In the 18U Boulder bracket, the Corona Angels and the California's AASA split the championship. In the 16U division, the Ohio-based Beverly Bandits RD and the Beverly Bandits from Illinois shared the title. In the 14U division, the CoCal Choppers and Corona Angels Marty were the winners.
The only bracket to complete its finals game was the 18U Louisville division. The Tulsa Elite defeated the Nebraska Gold , 8-0, to claim the championship.