SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2018

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September 2018 32 t SPORT Report WRESTLING he sport of amateur wres- tling isn't a tough sell in the city of Tulsa, Okla. The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University generate a lot of interest and that has spawned vibrant high school and junior programs in the state, according to Vince Trinidad, executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission "It is just natural that we do wrestling in a big way here," he said. Given wrestling's profile in the city, it wasn't a surprise when Tulsa landed the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championship in 2017. More than 15,000 fans turned out to support the event at BOK Center in 2017 and more than 18,000 tickets were sold for this year's championship in March. The city has played host to World of Wrestling events and the FloWrestling FloNationals. Ray Hoyt, president of the Tulsa CVB and Sports Commission, said that lessons learned from running those major events and conducting onsite research to study how other cities host events paid dividends when it came time to host the Big 12 Championship. "We did it in a big way," said Trinidad. "We had all new state-of-the-art mats for the event, pumped smog into the arena and lowered the lights when the wrestlers were introduced, and raised the mat off the floor for championship matches. We put months of work into the event and made sure the wrestlers, coaches and officials had a memorable and enjoyable experience." The event will continue to call Tulsa home for the Big 12 Championships in 2019 and 2020. Trinidad estimated at least $5 million is pumped into the local economy by major wrestling events but hosting wrestling tournaments has meaning beyond money. "It's also about giving our residents entertainment and other activities to do," Hoyt said. "We are a growing city with a number of public and private projects to enhance the lifestyle of our residents. Events like the ones we stage also help companies retain employees, as Tulsa is becoming viewed as a desirable city to live, work and play." 'Packs 'Em' In & Pumps 'Em Up' BY JOHN TORSIELLO T NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the Cleveland Public Auditorium Greater Cleveland Sports Commission /Sam Janicki

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