The population is about to boom in La Crosse, at least for the weekend. The Wisconsin State Track and Field meet is coming back to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
This is the 119th running of the Wisconsin State High School Track and Field Meet and the 25th year at UW-L. But even with 25 years of experience under their belt, organizers say there is still a lot of work that goes into making this event a success.
The bleachers at Veterans Memorial Field can hold a lot of spectators, but even they aren't big enough for the state track and field meet.
"We basically spend about two full days hauling in sets of bleachers to accommodate the 20,000 folks that we're going to have here," WIAA State Coordinator Josh Buchholtz said.
Before the gates open Friday morning, organizers have a lot of work that needs to be done to make this event go smoothly. Hurdles need to be around the track, field events need to be set up, tents need to be assembled and power needs to be surrounding the track.
"Each field event we have someone marking a tablet that's marking every attempt. That's how we feed that information live to the web and to mobile devices, so it's very labor intensive," owner of Prime Time Timing, Sean Gavigan, said.
Prime Time Timing is the company whose job is to make sure the right champion is crowned.
"Camera-wise will be -- just on the main finish line, we'll have six," Gavigan said.
Today they had a group setting up video screens, testing equipment and making sure they are prepared for whatever comes their way.
"It's a lot of testing, a lot of planning for any variable we might experience through the weekend. State track meet the last few years there always seems to be some rain that likes to sneak into the forecast, so that adds a whole different dynamic as far as it's a lot of electronic equipment making sure that we're ready for it if the weather hits. It's a big task," Gavigan said.
"The No. 1 goal for this weekend is that every athlete, every spectator get the best show that they can, they enjoy their time here in La Crosse and that they're eager to come back next year," Buchholtz said.
Event organizers say if there's rain, events will go on as planned. If there is lightning or any other inclement weather, events will be moved into the UW-L field house.