2017 Readers' Choice
Award Winners cont.
Oklahoma City CVB
Tulsa Sports Commission
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center
Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Erie Area Sports Commission
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
Valley Forge Sports
See Ad On Page 68
Visit Clearfield County
Puerto Rico Convention Bureau
Columbia Regional Sports Council
See Ad On Page 17
Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce
continued on page 34
Carrie Reeb, Executive Director
Fort Wayne, IN
About 10 years ago, Fort4Fitness leaders
established their mission: to inspire healthy
living through fitness in the Greater Fort
"At the time, there was a national magazine that classified our area
as one of the most obese in the country," Carrie Reeb said. "So a group of people got together
and made it their mission to change that statistic."
Since that time, Fort4Fitness has been doing its best to change the lives of participants with
its signature fitness events, which were created for people of all ages and athletic abilities. In the
spring, the non-profit organization hosts an annual cycling event. In the fall, it hosts an annual
race for runners.
"We have about 10,000 people that participate in our Fall Festival every year," Reeb said.
"That's the event we're known for."
In its first year, the Fall Festival was a half marathon and a 5K.
"Originally, we thought if we could get maybe 1,000 people that would be great," Reeb said.
"We ended up with about 3,000 people. It has grown every year from there. Today, the Fall
Festival is a weekend event that includes an expo and races for multiple distances — including a
kids' marathon, 10K, half marathon and four-mile run—so runners can choose how they want to
participate and the distance they are willing to go.
"With our events, our goal is to get people up and moving," Reeb said. "We just want to be
supportive and create a fun atmosphere so they can come out and enjoy it." n
SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue
Eight collegiate teams made history in 2016 by play-
ing their way into the inaugural NCAA National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Champion-
ship. The event had actually been held the prior four years as the American Volleyball Coaches
Association (AVCA) Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. But 2016 was the first
year as an official NCAA event.
"To become an NCAA championship, 40 schools have to play the particular sport for two
years, then it can be voted on to become an NCAA national championship," Beth Gendler said.
"The beach volleyball championship is the NCAA's 90th championship."
Beach volleyball is one of the fastest emerging sports in NCAA history, thanks in part to its
spot in the Olympic Games and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. For the inaugural 2016 cham-
pionship, the eight-team bracket was selected from the 60 NCAA institutions that sponsor the
sport. The chosen teams competed on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala.
"We had unbelievably great weather for the event," Gendler said. "The event was broadcast on
truTV and TBS, so it was a great opportunity to showcase Alabama's beautiful beaches to beach
volleyball fans nationwide."
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism and Sports Commission partnered with the NCAA to
create the perfect experience for the first-time championship event.
"It was a great partnership and we're excited to have them back for the second annual com-
petition in May 2017," Gendler said. n
NCAA National Collegiate Beach
Beth Gendler, Vice President of Sales,
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
Gulf Shores, AL