92 • Sports TravelMagazine.com October/November 2017
catch up to our park development.”
Downtown is hopping with restau-
rants, shops and entertainment, includ-
ing the new Kentucky High School Bas-
ketball Hall of Fame. American Legion
Water Park opened last summer, a new
nine-screen movie theater is scheduled
to open next summer, and a new indoor
Clark said. “After we took care of that, it
created more visitors.”
Elizabethtown’s major sports are
those that fit the sports park, which
has 12 diamonds and 12 multiuse
fields (two synthetic). Maryland-based
Elite Tournaments was the park’s
first soccer client, and the company
organizes three annual events there:
two showcases in April and the annu-
al Elizabethtown Fall Invitational in
September, said Matt Libber, Elite’s
vice-president of business operations.
Kentucky’s central location works
well for Elite, and the facility “is fantas-
tic, probably one of the best facilities we
use in the country,” he said. The staff is
so accommodating that “the service we
get there is over the top.”
The field crew and support staff also
keep Game Day USA coming back ev-
ery year, and the facility itself “is one of
the best that we’ve experienced,” said
Don Flynn, Game Day’s vice-president
of business development. The company
runs four baseball tournaments there.
The park has also hosted ultimate,
lacrosse and field hockey tournaments,
as well as cross-country meets that use
the natural areas of the 158-acre complex. When the park first opened, the
city had no local lacrosse at all, and
now it has high school and club teams.
The park “has been kind of an incuba-
tor” for the sport, Clark said.
Knoxville often surprises visitors. “Peo-
ple come here with a preconceived
notion of what Knoxville will be, and
they leave thinking it’s awesome,” said
Parker Medley, sports sales director for
the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission.
USA Cycling’s 2017 Profession-al Road Championships drew about
200 cyclists to the city in June, and the
event will return in 2018 and 2019.
“The town really embraced it, and the
attendance was awesome,” Medley said.
Three miles from downtown, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is 1,000 acres
of forested waterfront where bikers,
hikers and runners will find more than
50 miles of natural-surface trails, including the challenging Devil’s Racetrack downhill trail that opened last
year. The sports commission is hoping
to partner with Legacy Parks Foundation to attract trail running, mountain
biking and cyclocross events. The city
also is planning to build a BMX track.
Indoor sports are a major market
thanks to the 500,000-square-foot
Knoxville Convention Center. Last fall,
the sports commission bought sports
courts for the convention center so organizers don’t have to rent them. The
Ozone Invitational, an annual youth
gymnastics meet, draws about 3,000
athletes to the center.
John Tarleton Park, with five fields, is
a venue for the city’s two largest youth
football events: the Battle in Rocky Top,
a national tournament held every November, and the National Youth Football Kick-off Classic in August.
Visit Knoxville partners with the
University of Tennessee to bring events
to campus, and key venues include the
21,678-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena, the recently renovated Tom Black
Track at LaPorte Stadium and the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Tucked into the northwest corner of Arkansas, Rogers is about four hours from
Oklahoma City and five hours from
Dallas. Bentonville—home to Walmart
headquarters and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art—is just
northwest of Rogers. In Rogers, visitors
will find fine dining, meeting space and
concert venues, and nearby are lakes,
forests and state parks. The University
of Arkansas is just down the road in Fayetteville, and the Double-A Northwest
> Knoxville, Tennessee, has become a hub for professional cycling events.