Pan Am Taekwondo Championships Coming to Spokane
We are honored to host the 2018 PATU (Pan Am Taekwondo Union) Pan Am Taekwondo Championships in Spokane, WA, July 12-15. As the first northwest city in the United States to host this event, we are excited to welcome some of the top Taekwondo athletes in the world. “We feel privileged to have these high caliber athletes coming to Spokane to compete in such a premier international event,” says Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President and CEO. “Spokane is a sports-minded city where locals appreciate the dedication it takes to become a world-class athlete. There will be a lot of local interest in this event.”
The PATU Championships is expected to draw approximately 1,000 athletes from more than 30 countries from North, Central, South America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Caribbean Island Countries like Trinidad and Dominican Republic. PATU President and Grand Master Ji Ho Choi says Spokane was selected for a number of reasons. “Spokane is a sport friendly city where safe and supportive competition environment are offered to our world class international athletes. With continued support and deep understanding for our special character of martial art sport from the Spokane Sports Commission and the people of Spokane, I am confident that our event will be not only successful, but also a memorable one for all participants for many years to come. We are currently experiencing very high demand for U.S. entry VISA invitation letters to countries from Africa, Asia, and Europe for the Pan Am Open International Taekwondo Championships. I am very excited to invite these international athletes and looking forward to showcase our Olympic and World Class athletes to the world in Spokane! Upon successful completion of these events, Spokane will be known as the City of Taekwondo!”
The Pan Am Taekwondo Championships is a four-day event, where competitors are trying to earn points to better their world rankings for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, 2019 Lima Pan Am Games and Para Pan Am Games. Many of the youngest athletes will also be competing in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, later this year.
Taekwondo was developed by Korean martial artists shortly after World War II, although it’s widely thought, it was practiced as early as 50 BC in Korea. The sport is known for its head height kicks and punching and spinning kicks. It’s been an Olympic event since 2000 and the popularity of Taekwondo has surged in the United States because the sport also teaches students self-confidence, humility, and respect. Taekwondo is practiced in more than 200 countries worldwide and currently practiced by over 12 Million people in the Pan Am region.
December 2017: USA Judo selects Spokane for a second consecutive year for Junior Olympics
Building on the success of the 2017 USA Judo National and International Junior Olympic Championships, Spokane was selected by USA Judo to host the 2018 Junior Olympics.
“It’s an honor to be selected to host back to back years of such a prestigious USA Judo event,” says Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President and CEO. “While we were expecting 800 athletes to attend the USA Judo Junior Olympics last June, we ended up with 963 athletes competing in Spokane. Some of our international competitors came from as far away as Singapore, Uganda and Germany. We are anticipating another great turnout for 2018.”
Much of the success of the 2017 USA Judo Junior Olympics was due to the strong involvement from our local judo community. Pacific Judo Academy, Washington State Judo and Northwest Judo Yudanshakai worked together to volunteer, organize and promote the event.
“Besides the World Championships, the Junior Olympics is one of the most important events for young athletes in our sport.” says Leigh Yamada, Pacific Judo Academy Club President. “To have the Junior Olympics back in Spokane is so exciting. Our local judo community has the experience after hosting in June, so we are ready to make 2018 bigger and better.”
The 2018 USA Judo National and International Junior Olympic Championships will be held June 22-24, at the Spokane Convention Center. It’s estimated, 1,100 athletes will attend, with a strong international presence. The economic impact of the 2017 Junior Olympics was nearly $1.5 million, it’s expected 2018 will generate $1.7 million as competitors and their families eat, stay and play in Spokane. Read complete press release.
November 2017: Spokane Selected for 2018 USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships, July 26–29
July 26-29, 2018 | Roos Field | Eastern Washington University
We are excited to announce the USA Track & Field (USATF) Masters Outdoor Championships are returning to Spokane in summer of 2018. Spokane has a long history hosting running events but the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships are extra special, bringing an inspiring atmosphere as well as athletes with unique and compelling backgrounds. The youngest competitors will be 30 years old, but expect athletes in their eighties, nineties and possibly one-hundreds—in 2017, this event even had a 102-year-old competitor.
Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President and CEO, commented, “Whether you’re a recreational athlete or a world-class athlete, whether you’re 32 or 102, we are thrilled to welcome a diverse field of competitors to Spokane, Washington. In addition to bringing visitors to our city, this event brings a unique opportunity for our local running community to compete against world-class competitors."
Taking place at Eastern Washington University’s Roos Field, just a short drive from Spokane's downtown core, the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships includes track events, heptathlon and decathlon, race walking and throw pentathlons. Nearly 1,000 competitors and 1,500 spectators will bring nearly $2 million in economic impact to the local economy. There are no qualifying standards for USATF Master’s Championships. Anyone can compete who meets the minimum age of 30. USATF Inland Northwest and Spokane Sports Commission worked in partnership to bring this event back to Spokane.
If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 USATF Master’s Outdoor Championships as an athlete, registration opens in March of 2018 through the USATF website. This event wouldn’t happen without dedicated volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer or officiate email Spokane Sports Commission for more information.
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country's No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. Visit USATF website for more information.
September 2017: Inland Northwest Hall of Fame Announces Eight Inductees for 2017
Eight outstanding sports figures will be honored for their commitment and dedication to our regional sports scene when they’re inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame on October 17. Each of the inductees were selected for the lasting mark they’ve made with their athletic accomplishments either as an athlete, coach or sports professional. Read more about each of this year’s outstanding inductees.
August 2017: Spokane Will Host National BMX Race With Thousands Arriving This Week.
Deep turns, daring downhills and big air—there will be no shortage of spectacular racing when Spokane hosts some of the best BMX riders in the country this week.
The 2017 USA BMX Lumberjack Nationals is August 18-20. This race is the largest BMX event our city has ever hosted with nearly 1,500 riders and 2,500 spectators who will pack the Joe Albi BMX Track at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. This national race means 3,500 hotel overnight stays in Spokane and an estimated $2.3 million spent in Spokane.
Years of planning went into winning this event including a concentrated effort between Spokane BMX, Spokane Parks and Recreation and the Spokane Sports Commission. All three entities funded extensive improvements at the BMX track at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex. “We’ve really focused the last couple years on improving the track, increasing our race attendance, and adding more members to Spokane BMX,” says Jay Brothers, Spokane BMX President/Track Operator. “It’s all culminated into the Lumberjack Nationals. We couldn’t be more proud to be hosting this event.”
With over $50K granted in 2016, the Spokane Sports Commission’s Advance Sports Grant helped fund track improvements. In combination with additional funding from Spokane BMX and Spokane Parks and Recreation, a new start gate was installed, the turns were raised, the track was resurfaced with paved corners, and a new start hill was added—creating a national caliber facility.
Without track improvements, Spokane would have never been considered for a national race as prestigious as the Lumberjack Nationals. “The Spokane BMX project is a good example of why our Advance Sports Grant was created,” says Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President/CEO. “If we can help fund strategic facility improvements or equipment upgrades that secure national sporting events for Spokane, the whole community benefits by the millions of dollars generated by these large events.”
May 2017: Announcing the Finalists for the 2017 Spokane Youth Sports Awards
Spokane Sports Commission, in partnership with SWX and The Fitz Basketball Tournament, is proud to announce the finalists for the 2017 Spokane Youth Sports Awards. Chosen by a selection committee of community members and athletic professionals, this year’s field of nominees was extremely hard to narrow. Finalists represent the finest youth athletes in our region who also exemplify great character, sportsmanship and community service.
Coach of the Year
Phil McLean, Wrestling, Mead High School
Heidi Melville, Boys Soccer, Saint George's School
Alex Schuerman, Baseball, Mt. Spokane High School
1B/2B/1A Top Female High School Sports Team
Davenport High School Basketball Team
Lakeside High School Volleyball Team
Oakesdale High School Volleyball Team
1B/2B/1A Top Male High School Sports Team
Deer Park High School Cross Country Team
Liberty High School Football Team
Saint George's School Soccer Team
2A/3A/4A Top Female High School Sports Team
Central Valley High School Track Team
Mead High School Volleyball Team
Mt. Spokane High School Volleyball Team
2A/3A/4A Top Male High School Sports Team
Gonzaga Preparatory School Basketball Team
Mead High School Wrestling Team
Mt. Spokane High School Baseball Team
Non-High School Sports Top Female Athlete
Lizzy Bowers, BMX, Spokane BMX
Courtney Kirschke, Figure Skating, Lilac City Figure Skating Club
Akina Yamada, Judo, Pacific Judo Academy
Non-High School Sports Top Male Athlete
Tucker Knudsen, BMX, Spokane BMX
Daniel Roy, Swimming, King Aquatic Club
Kailer Yamamoto, Hockey, Spokane Chiefs
High School Sports Top Female Athlete
Jaya Allen, Fastpitch Softball/Slowpitch Softball, Shadle Park High School
Zella Conley, Gymnastics/Track & Field, Mead High School
Lexie Hull, Basketball, Central Valley High School
Madison Ward, Cross Country/Track & Field, Saint George's School
High School Sports Top Male Athlete
Tyler Haas, Football/Basketball/Baseball, Liberty High School
Clai Quintanilla, Wrestling, North Central High School
Dalton Young, Wrestling, Lakeside High School
Against All Odds Honorees
Rodrick Fisher, Football/Track & Field, East Valley High School
Micah Henry, Cross Country/Basketball/Track & Field/Soccer, Northwest Christian School
Rogers Co-ed Cheer Squad, John R. Rogers High School
Don’t miss a night of celebration and stories of inspiration. The 2017 Youth Sports Awards is Monday, June 5, at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. We welcome athletes, families, and fans of sports to join us with red carpet arrivals beginning at 5pm and the award ceremony beginning at 6pm. Please join us for a spectacular night dedicated to recognizing the best athletes in our region. General admission tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.
Spokane Sports Commission Wins “Locally Created Event of the Year” Award from National Association of Sports Commissions
SACRAMENTO (March 28, 2017)—The Spokane Sports Commission is the recipient of the 2016 “Locally Created Event of the Year” Award for cities under a population of 400,000 at this year’s National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) Sports Event Symposium being held this week in Sacramento.
The Locally Created Event of the Year award goes to an active member of NASC with the most outstanding locally created event or program. This event can be newly created or a long-standing event, but must be an event/program created by the submitting organization to serve a local community or an organizational need.
According to the judges: “Spokane identified a unique niche in honoring high-school aged athletes in their community using an ESPY’s model atmosphere. They produced the first-ever televised award show in the region, creating a memorable student-athlete experience.”
“Four years ago, with our partners at SWX, we had an idea to transform the Spokane Youth Sports Awards into a high-energy, televised celebration for student-athletes and their families,” says Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President and CEO. “We are so proud of how this award show has grown into a ‘must-attend’ event for local athletes and their families. To be honored nationally for one of our favorite yearly projects is really exciting for our entire team at the Spokane Sports Commission.”
The 25th annual NASC Sports Event Symposium is being held March 27-30 at the Sacramento Convention Center. The NASC Sports Event Symposium is the annual meeting for the only non-profit 501(c)3 trade association for the sport tourism industry. For 25 years, the Symposium has been designed for serious-minded sport tourism professionals by sport tourism professionals. Learn more at www.sportscommissions.org.
Download the press release.
Spokane Selected for 2018 USA Weightlifting National Junior Championships
(Spokane, WA, March 22, 2017) –USA Weightlifting has selected Spokane as the host city for its 2018 Nike National Junior Championships, powered by Rogue Fitness. This event will bring the nation’s best 20-and-under lifters to compete in Spokane February 15-18, 2018. As a qualifying event for the Pan Am Championships and International Weightlifting Federation Grand Prix events, we can expect more than 350 athletes and 500 spectators to attend. The economic impact will likely reach $725,000 as competitors and their families dine, shop and stay in Spokane. The three-day event will account for 1,200 hotel overnight stays.
“We work really hard with our local sports clubs and venues during the bidding process to ensure Spokane is always a strong host-city contender,” said Eric Sawyer, President and CEO of Spokane Sports Commission. “We are so excited that USA Weightlifting has selected Spokane for its 2018 National Junior Championships and it’s an honor to have one of their signature events coming to town.”
Spokane has a very active strength community, including local weightlifting clubs, powerlifting, and Crossfit groups that collectively committed to hosting this event. In addition, flexible staff at local hotels and supportive Spokane Convention Center management worked very hard to win this bid. “Together, Spokane is nearly unstoppable,” says Sawyer. “We are very thankful that our hospitality community understands the long-term benefits of sports and we work very well as a team to secure events.”
The 2018 USA Weightlifting is the latest Olympic governing body to choose Spokane for an upcoming national event. Just last month, USA Track & Field announced that Spokane will host the 2018 National Club Cross Country Championships. Additionally, Spokane will host the 2017 USA Judo National and International Junior Olympics Championships this June. Recent events with USA Gymnastics and USA Boxing continue to expand our reputation as a fantastic city for successful sporting events.
March 2017: Big Sports Month and Even Bigger Long-term Community Impact
(Spokane, WA, February 27, 2017) – March is bursting with sports, brimming with athletes—it’s just plain gigantic. March sporting events will fill our local venues and populate our hotels, restaurants and retail shops with nearly 30,000 out-of-town athletes and their families. The economic impact will likely reach an estimated $19 million with the variety and volume of sports converging in Spokane, beginning this weekend.
These numbers are impressive, but even more impressive is the impact of sports tourism. Research shows sports have a larger effect on the community. The young athletes coming to Spokane to play sports are potentially tomorrow’s business leaders and decision makers. Leaving with a positive impression of Spokane may determine where they choose to live, go to college, or start a career. Spokane is building a strong sports culture because it goes hand-in-hand with long-term economic prosperity and growth.
Mega March events at a glance:
WIAA Hardwood Classic Boys and Girls State B Basketball Tournament
Wednesday-Saturday, March 1–4
Held in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, "State B" continues to be a treasured historical event that brings together fans and families from small towns across the State of Washington. Be part of it.
Spokane Nordic Challenge 20/30/50k Loppet
Sunday, March 5
"Loppet" is the traditional term for a long-distance cross country ski event that can be either recreational or competitive. This is a long-time end of season event that takes place in the beautiful setting of Mt. Spokane. Learn more.
2017 Washington State Middle School Basketball Championships
Friday-Sunday, March 17–19
In its 4th year, Spokane's fastest growing annual tournament will include 3,600 student-athletes traveling from across the state. This unique tournament is an opportunity for middle school teams to test their skills against new competition from across Washington.
2017 Hub-a-Palooza Mountain Bike Festival
Friday-Sunday, March 31–April 2
This weekend is a mountain biker’s dream. Participants can take part in the the Double Down Hoe Down downhill bike race, and the People’s Enduro, which will be a single day, 4 stage endure event. Nearly 400 riders are expected for this epic weekend. Learn more.
USA Volleyball Pacific Northwest Qualifier
March 24-26 & March 31–April 2
Celebrating 20 years in Spokane, the Pacific Northwest Qualifier (PNQ) takes over the Spokane Convention Center, HUB Sports Center, and Reese Court at EWU for two consecutive weekends. PNQ Volleyball generates more hotel room stays in Spokane than any other yearly event! More than 8,000 players (plus coaches, families and fans) account for approximately 15,000 hotel overnight stays.
January 2017: Spokane Selected for 2018 USA Track & Field National
Club Cross Championships
(Spokane, WA, December 19, 2016) – We are excited to announce that Spokane has been selected for the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. This prestigious event will bring approximately 1,500 athletes—representing an estimated 65 running clubs from around the country—in December of 2018. The economic impact is impressive with competitors and their families booking as many as 4,500 hotel room nights, injecting nearly $3 million dollars into the local economy.
Competition is fierce for USATF events—with many factors being part of the selection process.
“Spokane’s long reputation as a great running community, along with a history of hosting large and successful cross country events, helped the selection go our way,” said Eric Sawyer, President and CEO of Spokane Sports Commission. “We know there are several cities around the country that competed for this event and we are honored that USATF chose Spokane.”
Plantes Ferry Park Sports Stadium has been the chosen course for a variety of national cross country events, including the 2008 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships.
USATF National Club Cross Country Championships feature three distances, 6k, 8k and 10k, with men’s and women’s teams competing in masters and open categories. The popularity of adult running clubs has increased in the last several years. USATF National Club Cross Country Championships will feature the top clubs from across the United States as they compete for honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team.
December 1, 2017: Spokane awarded USA Wrestling's Cadet National Duals for 2018 and 2019
USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States, has selected Spokane, Wash. to host the 2018 and 2019 Cadet National Duals, a major age-group national event in the Olympic wrestling styles. This is the annual national dual meet championship in men’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the Cadet age level (15-16 years old). The event features USA Wrestling state association teams from across the nation competing in a dual meet format.
“USA Wrestling is pleased to select Spokane as the host city for our popular Cadet Nationals Duals. Spokane has proven time and time again that it is a tremendous wrestling city, and we expect our event to grow and thrive there. The bid to host the Cadet National Duals allowed both USA Wrestling and Washington USA Wrestling to benefit tremendously. We look forward to bringing the nation’s best Cadet wrestlers to Spokane for the next two years,” said Pete Isais, USA Wrestling National Events Director.
Spokane becomes only the eighth city to host the event, which was created in 2000. This marks the first time that the event has been held in the western time zone. Only five other states have hosted the tournament (Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota, Florida and Pennsylvania). The local organizing committee is the Washington State Wrestling Association (WSWA) and Spokane Sports Commission.
“We are honored to have USA Wrestling select Spokane for the Cadet National Duals,” says Eric Sawyer, Spokane Sports Commission President and CEO. “We have a very strong local wrestling community along with a history of hosting many national and regional wrestling events, we are excited to be the first city in the west to host the Duals.”
The competition will be held at the Spokane Convention Center June 12-16 in 2018 and June 11-15 in 2019, which is also the home of one of USA Wrestling’s major Folkstyle Tour of America events, the Bigfoot Battle. The most recent Cadet National Duals were held in York, Pa., with Illinois winning the Freestyle team title and the Minnesota Storm capturing the Greco-Roman title.
USA Wrestling has held other major events in Spokane, including the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in freestyle wrestling, as well as the 2002 Freestyle World Cup.
Sports don't just entertain. They improve communities. They drive economies. And no other organization brings sports events to the Inland Northwest like the Spokane Sports Commission. We are a nonprofit coalition of regional government; business and volunteers committed to recruiting and developing sports events. With these events come tourism dollars, entertainment and media attention attracting sports fans from around the world. Business wins. Kids win. Fans win, our region wins.
714 N Iron Bridge Way, Suite 202 | Spokane, WA 99202
509.456.5812 | www.spokanesports.org