Sporting Events Returning on All Levels

The Tennessee National Series featured riders from across the country in this USA Cycling DH Series event.

It’s good to see so many sporting events returning, and our partners are happily sharing the news at a rapid pace through our conversations and emails.

It’s about time people can brag about their events and cities again. Let me help share your good news.

In Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Tennessee National recently brought 740 mountain bikers to the world-class Windrock Bike Park for downhill and enduro races in the USA Cycling event.

The races featured top riders from across the country for record-breaking performances and a couple of minor crashes.

Next stop in the National DH Series, the Mountain Creek Bike Park in Vernon, N.J.

And speaking of biking, the new USA BMX arena and headquarters construction is about half-way to completion in downtown Tulsa, Okla.

The open-air arena is a $23 million project that includes a recessed Olympic-quality racing track with starting hills for both amateurs and professionals. The building is almost three-stories high and the width of a football field.

With no interior columns, the venue will eliminate hazards for riders and provide fans with an unobstructed view inside the 2,000-seat arena.

The site will also have a 25,000-square-foot headquarters and Hall of Fame building with a balcony overlooking the arena from the south of the complex. Training rooms, office space, a catering kitchen and concessions will all be in the headquarters building when the facility opens next year.

I’ve requested more information from USA BMX, so stay tuned as I share artist renderings, construction photos and details about the STEM project mentioned last year when Houston opened its bike park.

In the St. Pete Clearwater area, Tim Ramsberger, CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater said they were honored to host the USA Softball National Women’s team in Clearwater this month.

The one-year agreement with USA Softball and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Sports & Events (VSPC) hosted a training camp from March 3-18 at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

USA Softball also hosted a three-game series between the USA and Mexico that was originally planned to be hosted in Texas.

The Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex has hosted various national team events, including USA Softball National Team Selection Trials for Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women and the U-19 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Championships in 2017, which featured 26 countries competing for the title.

While in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, the WNT took part in a series of workouts and practice sessions, in addition to the three-game series against No. 5 Mexico as part of the Stand Beside Her Tour.

Ramsberger said they are also excited about hosting the Valspar PGA in Palm Harbor from April 29 to May 2 and the Perfect Game National Showcase at Tropicana Field on July 14-20.

“We are a great destination with tremendous brand recognition and hosting USA Softball, Valspar PGA golf and other nationally-branded events is a testament to our marketing and sales efforts to partner with organizers as we emerge from troubled times under COVID-19,” he said.

In North Dakota, the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that it will help host the Firefighter Combat Challenge 30thAnniversary National Tour in July.

The Bismarck-Mandan CVB (BMCVB), Bismarck Fire Department, and the Mandan Fire Department will also partner to host the event at the Bismarck Event Center on July 9-10.

ESPN calls this event the “Toughest Two Minutes in Sports.” The first responders’ race against an opponent and the clock simulating the rigorous physical demands of real-life firefighting by men and women in public safety.

Sheri Grossman, CEO of BMCVB said the event will bring competitors from across the United States for a fun spectator weekend during the 30thAnniversary National Tour.

The challenge consists of five evolutions: High-Rise “Hose Pack” Carry, “Donut Roll” Hose Hoist, “Forcible Entry” Keiser Force Machine, “Hose Advance,” and “Victim Rescue.”

A Kids Firefighter Challenge is also planned.

And in other first responder news, USA Judo and the National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Inc. (National PAL) announced a partnership during the first USA Judo Police Professionals & PAL (P3) Program during the Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certified course at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas, Wy.

The official youth development partnership aligns with both organizations’ commitment to youth and mentoring. USA Judo has 400 USA Judo Clubs and National PAL has 300 members.

“The P3 eco-system is a win-win scenario for all involved,” said USA Judo CEO Keith Bryant. “The P3 Program creates collaborative partnerships to address serious societal issues in the United States, all while building community relations, holistically developing young people and building a pipeline for both law enforcement careers and judo participation.”

USA Judo boasts a membership of more than 10,000, many of whom are active duty or retired law enforcement officers. The new P3 Program in Wyoming is to help transfer knowledge of the Olympic sport to provide law enforcement with the core physical, mental, and emotional tools that Judoka learn through muscle memory training.

And in Milwaukee, Wisc., youth sports continue to make news as Sports Milwaukee prepares for its official launch.

The month kicked off with the Wisconsin Juniors Volleyball Club hosting its Winter Classic in the Wisconsin Center. Then the Badger Region Volleyball Association held its championships in the convention center’s exhibit hall the next weekend.

Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee said the return of sports demonstrates Milwaukee’s ability and expertise in hosting successful events during a pandemic in a safe way. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 attendees participated in the tournaments for three weeks, all following social distancing guidelines to keep people safe.

Along with the volleyball tournaments, Williams-Smith said the launch of Sports Milwaukee, a new division of the visitors’ bureau led by Director of Sports Development, Marissa Werner has been highly anticipated. The new division will launch in early April.

“The Milwaukee area has some incredible wins in terms of booking national and international sporting events, but we want to ensure that we continue to build on that momentum,” she said. “We’re looking ahead to identify and obtain the next big wins for the city for many years to come, and we’ll accomplish that with this new division.”

Sports Milwaukee is managing several future events, including the 2021 Ryder Cup, the NCAA Men’s Basketball first and second rounds of 2022, the USGA Youth Amateur Championships 2022, and the USGA Women’s Championships 2025, in addition to others from amateur to collegiate and professional sports.

And the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) has some upcoming events that were pushed from 2020 to this year. The USA Masters Game is slated for June 24-27, the Champion Force Cheer Nationals are set for July 8-11, and the WMSC’s An Evening with Jack Nicklaus fundraiser is scheduled on June 30.

WMSC is rebuilding its sporting event calendar and planning to bid on additional events and mentions that new revenue streams through partnerships with Aquinas College Baseball to use the West Michigan Sports Complex for its home field when its first home game is held on March 27 will help financially. The sports commission also manages the office of the National Congress of State Games and the biennial State Games of America.

“As COVID restrictions lessen on hosting sporting events, we will continue to build back our book of business,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the WSMC in a statement. “We’re already seeing the spigot opening for booking sporting events, starting with outdoor events like baseball and softball tournaments.”

This year’s calendar already includes signature events, including the USA Gymnastics Rhythmic 2021 Gymnastics Level 9 Classic, USA Hockey Youth Tier II 16U Nationals, USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, the 2020 USA Masters, and a plethora of baseball and softball tournaments with Game Day USA, NSA, USA Softball and the Blue Chip Softball tournaments.

Keep sharing your news and I’ll keep bragging on you!