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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Next month LEVELUP Esports Arena will host the largest Fortnite tournament in the Midwest. The Overland Park arena will be home to the Midwest Open Circuit on June 12-13.

Two hundred gamers will compete for a $10,000 prize pool and the title of Midwest Open Circuit Champion 

Topher Jaims, Events and Production Manager for LEVELUP, said The two day tournament for solo competitors is sponsored by Iowa E-Sports.  

“We’re hoping it’s going to be a packed house. It’s going to be a lot of socializing. Where we are in the pandemic, how long it’s lasted and hopefully coming to an end soon, people are wanting to get out, have fun and meet new people, meet friends.”

The tournament will be open to anyone over 13 years old. The tournament will be broken down into two heats with 100 players in each heat. Jaims said LEVELUP staff will be taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the event. 

“We will go above and beyond to make sure everybodys wearing masks. We will sanitize stations.We will have sanitizers and different cleaning products available just in case,” Jaims said.

Isaac Bicknell is a competitive gamer and member of the Midwest Maniacs esports team. 

“I’m from a little town in southeast Kansas. There’s not a lot of big gaming things that go on around where I’m from,” Bicknell said. “The opportunity for Kansas City to have something like this means a lot to a lot of gamers in the area who haven’t really had a  chance to see the environment of the esports scene.”  

Bicknell said this will be his first Local Area Network (LAN), or in-person competition. He says he is inviting other members of the Maniacs to cheer him on during the tournament.

After COVID-19 forced many people to play online exclusively, gamers will get the chance to compete in person. Bicknell said it will also be a chance to connect with friends he’s only ever met online. 

“Some people don’t really understand the relationships that gamers make, but the friendships really do last a lifetime. It’s a connection that you can’t break,” Bicknell said. “Finally getting to meet a lot of these people in person is a whole other feeling” 

Jaims said the event isn’t just about competitive gaming, but giving people a reason to socialize and enjoy the city’s entertainment district. 

“We’re in a very populated area. There’s also going to be shopping and hotels. It’s really giving an opportunity for people to get out of the house, come to an event and just have fun,” Jaims said.

There is a $75 fee to enter the tournament. You can find more information on how to sign up for the Midwest Open Circuit here.