National organization recognizes Cactus Yards as nation’s top facility

Cactus Yards, kickball
Cactus Yards hosts youth baseball and softball tournaments and youth and adult recreation events, including adult kickball. (Courtesy Town of Gilbert)

Cactus Yards hosts youth baseball and softball tournaments and youth and adult recreation events, including adult kickball. (Courtesy Town of Gilbert)

A national youth sports governing body has recognized a Gilbert facility as best in the country for this year.

The United States Specialty Sports Association named Cactus Yards its National Complex of the Year at the 2021 USSSA National Convention in Orlando.

The award will be presented to the Gilbert Town Council at the Dec. 14 council meeting.

Cactus Yards, 4536 E. Elliot Road, Gilbert, was previously recognized as the Outstanding Park of the Year by the USSSA Arizona Baseball Chapter in 2019 and 2020. The award is voted on by the coaches and players who competed during the 2020 USSSA youth baseball season throughout Arizona.

Robert Carmona, Gilbert’s Parks and Recreation director, said in a release the town is honored to receive the award and thanked council and the town manager’s office for their vision in creating a facility with a large impact nationally, regionally and in town.


“The staff at Cactus Yards pride themselves in customer service and creating a safe and friendly experience for all visitors to the park, and I am incredibly proud of their efforts since the facility opened in 2019,” he said.

Founded in 1968, USSSA has over four million participants competing in 14 nationally sanctioned sports and in more than 1,000 parks across the country.


The town took over running the former Big League Dreams facility and rebranded it as Cactus Yards in 2019.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.