Pioneers announce 2021 schedule
GERING, NE- The Expedition League’s Western Nebraska Pioneers today announced their 2021 summer schedule, returning to a full 64-game slate after a COVID-shortened 2020 season.
The regular season begins Tuesday, May 25 as the Pioneers host the Casper Horeseheads for the first of a three-game set. As has become tradition, Opening Night, presented by Platte Valley Companies, features t-shirts to the first 500 fans as well as free tickets provided by a number of local businesses.
The regular season ends Saturday, August 7, followed by two rounds of playoffs to determine the 2021 Expedition League Champions.
“We say this every year and it’s always true – the best day of the off-season is the day the schedule is announced,” Pioneers owner Chuck Heeman said. “This year we are with our community in rebuilding from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were all hurt, and continue to be hurt, by this horrible pandemic. We know that fans want to join us at the ballpark but with all that’s going on, that may be a little more difficult for them financially. With that, we’ve been working with local companies to give families who are struggling financially a way to have some fun at the ballpark, and our local partners have really stepped up with providing free tickets every Wednesday night. Over the winter, we’ve talked to so many fans who can’t wait to get out of lockdown and join us at the ballpark, so we’re throwing everything we can into the 2021 season. We can’t wait to see the 2021 Pios on the field and our friends, families and fans fill the stands at the ballpark.”
A new feature on Saturdays is the “Pioneers Family Picnic”, in which the only tickets available will include an all-you-can-eat ballpark menu. Family packs of four or more will offer discounts on the all-you-can-eat package, which starts when the gates open and ends at the end of the sixth inning.
“We asked our fans to give us their opinions on the Family Picnic and we got amazingly positive feedback”, Heeman said. “Many teams around the country offer the same kind of thing and have found families really respond. Getting a ticket and all-you-can-eat for the night saves families a few dollars and makes for fun all night long. Fans know exactly what they’re spending on food and tickets, which helps them as we recover from the last year of being hurt by the pandemic. We are bringing this to the Pioneers as a way for families to get out of the house in an affordable way and have a picnic at the ballpark with us. We look forward to impromptu hot dog eating contests and all kinds of family fun with this.”
Returning for 2021 are two of the ballpark’s most popular features, the Bud Light and Michelob Ultra Party Decks. These decks regularly sell out every season and offer an all-you-can-eat and drink menu as well as great seating for groups of 20-60. An expanded left field lawn area offers fans a chance to bring a blanket or lawn chair and see the game from the outfield grass for only $5 per ticket.
In the first two of a series of ballpark improvements, the Pioneers have purchased a full grilling trailer to up their game at the Marky’s Meats Grill Stand, and a revamped Ryan Windhorst Wells Fargo Advisors Team Shop is in the works as well, including additional swag items and easier accessibility for fans to get their Pioneers gear.
“We are responding to the needs of our fans for greater speed and locations for our concessions areas, and with all our new swag, the current location just doesn’t work anymore,” Heeman said. “Our fans come first and this is our chance to really try some new things to make them happy. We’re excited at the possibilities 2021 brings, after the stress and frustration of last year’s COVID-restricted year.”
The full 2021 schedule can be found at wnpioneers.com.
The Pioneers will play a game vs. the combined legion teams at home on Monday, May 24th before opening regular season play at Oregon Trail Park Stadium on the 25th as they host Casper in a three game series.
After a two game series in Pierre against the Trappers they’ll be right back home to play Fremont for three games from June 1st through the 3rd.
LEWIS DIVISION– Badlands Big Sticks, Canyon County Spuds, Casper Horseheads, Mining City Tommyknockers, Souris Valley Sabre Dogs, Wheat City Whiskey Jacks
CLARK DIVISION– Western Nebraska Pioneers, Fremont Moo, Hastings Sodbusters, Pierre Trappers, Sioux Falls Sunfish, Spearfish Sasquatch
The Expedition League has added two teams for the 2021 season, the Canyon County Spuds (Caldwell, Idaho) and Mining City Tommyknockers (Butte, Montana). In addition, the four teams who sat out the 2020 season for COVID-19 reasons (Casper Horseheads, Sioux Falls Sunfish and Spearfish Sasquatch and Wheat City Whiskey Jacks) all return to the field for 2021. Tickets for all home games will be available online at wnpioneers.com before February 15, 2021.
The Pioneers and the Expedition League begin their fourth season on May 25, 2021. For information on the Expedition League visit
www.expeditionleague.com and for more information on the Pioneers visit www.wnpioneers.com.