This year, when the regular Smoky was moved off the second weekend in July due to the virus, USSSA decided to have their own Senior Smoky on that weekend instead. I heard there were lots of complaints about the ball and the utter lack of organization, so what you heard is consistent with what I have been told.
Hands down, if you are going to come east (and frankly, I'd be shocked if you did, given your relentless whining about travel for left coasters) ISSA has the best Senior program going - JMO. And I think their Senior Smoky would be a good choice for you.
SPA is (or as least was) strong in Ohio with four or five qualifying tournaments there. Ridge Hooks was the top gun (and owner) for SPA and I hear it has declined some since he passed away. I was at the 2017 SPA Senior World Tournament in Dalton, Georgia. The complex was really pretty nice, but the tournament was held in July and the heat and humidity were brutal to say the least.
As for your original question, the SSUSA/LVSSA draws an unbelievable number of teams because it's Vegas. This year, I heard they moved part of it to Utah and another part of it to Arizona. I heard it wasn't as good, but I wasn't there so I don't know first-hand.