SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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September 2017 34 t SPORT Report the 30th Annual Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival is scheduled for March 10-12, 2018 at Tumbleweed Park. This just might be an unusual sports event ripe for legitimate organized competition on a far larger scale, at least as an annual event in more places. 4. CURLING Curling is not new, of course, but to a lot of Americans below the Canadian border, it is decidedly … unusual. Perhaps the only sport other than Quidditch that might bring brooms to mind, curling's shuffleboard-like sliding-an-object-to-a-bull's-eye-score scenario and the defensive counterpart ma- neuvers have gained considerable growth in recent years. "Curling continues to grow in the U.S. due to NBC's commitment to airing not just the Olympic Winter Games but the Curling Night in America series," said Terry Davis, director of communications for USA Curl- ing. "Without the TV exposure, we would not have seen the upward growth that we've experienced in the past decade." In 2015, membership in the U.S. Curling Association (USCA) topped 20,000 for the first time. The past seven years have seen a 70-percent increase in the number of curl- ing clubs registered with the national orga- nization, many at multi-use ice arenas that have allowed expansion to many Southern and Western states. Curling opportunities are now available in 45 of the 50 states. 5. FOOTGOLF FootGolf, just as you might suspect, is a game of golf played by kicking a ball into a hole. Instead of using a traditional golf ball, FootGolf requires a regulation FIFA size 5 soccer ball. Instead of the ball being struck with golf clubs, it is advanced with a player's feet. And the golf hole in FootGolf is a 21-inch diameter cup. As in golf, lower numbers mean victory as players attempt to get through a shortened round at a conventional golf course equipped with FootGolf holes, with the fewest kicks of the ball. "FootGolf is quickly becoming the fastest-grow- ing sport in the nation, where the American FootGolf League has over 500 courses in 49 states," said Roberto Balestrini, founder of governing body Amer- ican FootGolf League (headquartered in Palm Desert, CA) and president of the Feder- ation of International FootGolf. "This year, 33 countries will play host to nearly 10,000 players participating in the World Tour, with 271 stops that cover 6 continents and 21 of the tournaments take place in the U.S." American FootGolf League competi- tions take place in four regions, leading to regional championships and ultimately to the U.S. National Championship hosted by Desert Willow Golf Resort, the home course of the American FootGolf League. 6. KICKBALL Kickball is another sport that certainly isn't new and might not even be considered unusual — except in the context of adults playing the beloved childhood game in organized league play with tournaments. There is a good bit of adult kickball play going on these days in the U.S. ranging from very informal, very loosely organized play to small local unaffiliated leagues to broader organizations to the organization generally regarded as the premier adult sports league for kickball, CLUBWAKA. CLUBWAKA offers kickball leagues — and leagues for other sports — in 50 cities and organizes events around the country. The unusual-sounding name for the organi- zation reflects its origin as the World Adult Kickball Association. "From the data we have from CLUBWA- KA kickball tournaments since 2012, we've seen a 15 percent increase in attendees and events each year, including a record 3,000-plus players at our flagship tourna- ment series, WAKApalooza Weekend, held in October," said Sarah Nelson, marketing projects manager for CLUBWAKA. "In addition, we had more than 2,000 players compete in our CLUBWAKA Regional Tournament Series in 2016. With the addi- tion of competitive kickball tournaments and new game concepts like glow-in-the- dark kickball and beach kickball, we expect this tournament trend will continue." 7. LAWNMOWER RACING "Lawnmower racing has been spreading like untreated crab grass for 25 years," said U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) President Bruce Kaufman, a k a Mr. Mow It All. "We have 50 chapters and clubs from coast to coast, and we're mowing and growing every year. We turn a weekend chore into a competitive sport Kickball Curling

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