Approximately 2,200 athletes, coaches, and spectators will visit Clarksville on Saturday, October 2 for the Class A and AA Boys and Girls Cross Country TMSAA (Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association) State Championships.
Armed with tents and coolers, family members will cheer runners along a two-mile course at Weakley Park in Sango, site of the former Eastland Green Golf Course.
“Recruiting and hosting sports events continues to be a priority for us,” says Visit Clarksville Chairman Matt Cunningham. “It’s a big revenue-generator for the community. We’ve also found that when families come for a single-day or weekend event, they see all that Clarksville has to offer and will come back later purely to enjoy vacation time and explore the city.”
Amateur athletics recruitment is a strategy that’s paid off well for the local economy. While many indoor events and activities have been canceled since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, outdoor sports have continued.
“This marks our seventh straight year to host the middle school cross country championships,” said Visit Clarksville Chairman Theresa Harrington. “It was the first large event we hosted last year after the pandemic hit. But, we were able to adapt doing all the things we needed to do to create a safe environment for both athletes and spectators. And, we’ve continued to adjust as we need to with both outdoor and indoor events to help keep visitors safe.”
Some of those adjustments at last year’s event included providing additional buses (the event requires off-site parking), regular and thorough cleaning of the bus shuttles, additional hand washing and sanitizing stations, more heats so fewer runners were together at one time, screenings for all attendees, and mask distribution, Harrington explained. Many of these protocols will still be in place during Saturday’s event.
Harrington estimates that direct visitor spending surrounding the event this year will total $384,000.
“We could not hold this event in Clarksville without the hard work and dedication from the APSU Cross Country coaching staff and players, the Visit Clarksville staff and Montgomery County Government,” said Richard McWhirter, TSSAA Assistant Executive Director. “We always want our competitors to have a first-class experience when they make it to the state level, and Clarksville’s volunteers and venues help us meet those expectations.”
During the 2020-21 fiscal year ending June 30, Visit Clarksville hosted 13 sports events for soccer, cross country, track & field, baseball, and softball. These events brought 34,671 visitors to Clarksville-Montgomery County who spent an estimated $15.4 million while here.
About Visit Clarksville
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Tourism Commission was established by the State of Tennessee in 1979 to positively influences tourism in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area by promoting tourist attractions, hosting conventions and group tours, and engaging in large-scale marketing efforts. In 2015, the organization adopted the Visit Clarksville brand. Visit Clarksville is governed by nine board of director members and is funded by a portion of the local hotel-motel tax.
Photo Caption: Middle School boys power towards the finish line at the 2020 cross county state meet in Clarksville. Photo: Visit Clarksville
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