SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2017

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

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Page 34 of 59 September 2017 35 t SPORT Report for thousands of racers, families and fans nationwide, and our future looks bright. The mow the merrier!" Lawnmower racing is just what it sounds like: commercially designed self-propelled rotary or reel mowers with the cutting blades removed are driven by helmeted drivers on dedicated lawnmower racing tracks, city-supported tracks and at com- mercial venues. USLMRA races take place at fairs, festivals and other events. The Northbrook, Illinois-based USLMRA has a four-tiered racing program with 11 classes of competition. Longtime sponsor STA- BIL, the producer of the fuel stabilizer and gas treatment, sponsors the sport's 18-event National Lawnmower Racing Series. 8. LUMBERJACK SPORTS Variously called lumberjack sports, timber- sports or woodsman competitions, sports events that include competitions such as log rolling, pole climbing, block chopping and other disciplines historically mastered by lumberjacks in the timber industry are not your typical fare. There is no single governing body for lumberjack sports but two of the largest sanctioning bodies for multiple-state competitions are the Amer- ican Lumberjack Association and STIHL TIMBERSPORTS. The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series is a professional-level series involving five regional qualifying competitions that whittle the number of competitors down to the top five who then move on to the Cham- pionship round. The top U.S. chop/saw competitor advances to the World Champi- onship competition in Holland. The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series is televised on networks around the world in more than 60 countries. The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Colle- giate Series has grown the fastest, however, and has leaped from just a half-dozen com- peting schools 12 years ago to 62 schools today. The lumberjack (and lumberjill) collegiate series is broadcast on ESPNU, and leads to a collegiate championship. 9. PICKLEBALL It's doubtful many sports event planners remain unaware of pickleball at this point but it is certainly a unique new- ish sport that is growing rapidly. A mix of tennis, table tennis and bad- minton, pickleball uses a small plastic ball with holes in it; a special paddle, similar to a table tennis paddle but larger; and a modified tennis net on a badmin- ton-sized court. It can be played indoors or outdoors, in singles or doubles competitions. According to Justin Maloof, executive director of the USA Pickleball Associa- tion (USAPA) based in Surprise, Ariz., membership has increased 325 percent over the past three years, with the largest increase occurring over the past year. There are more than 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts in the United States and at least one location in each of the 50 states. The Sports & Fitness Industry Asso- ciation (SFIA) 2016 Participant Report lists pickleball participation at 2.5 million players in the U.S. 10. QUIDDITCH This oddly named game is inspired by the popular Harry Potter novels, though its national governing body, US Quidditch, has no connection to the publications, the publisher or to author J. K. Rowling. Quid- ditch has been described as "a mixed-gen- der full-contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, basketball and dodgeball." A Quidditch team has seven athletes who play with brooms between their legs at all times as they endeavor to score by getting the volleyball, called a quaffle, through any one of three vertical hoops on stands at the opposite end of the field. Players may run with the quaffle, pass it or kick it. Also involved is a dodgeball that can temporarily put a player hit with it out of productive play, and the capture of a special "snitch" ball (the size of a tennis ball) ends the game. US Quidditch, based in Seattle and only five years old, had 148 teams competing last year. The organization holds tourna- ment play leading to regional champion- ships and the US Quidditch Cup for the national championship. The US Quidditch Cup is played in a different locale each April; this year's event was held at Aus- tin-Tindall Regional Park in Kissimmee, Fla. The large event featured 60 teams from across the league. The US Quidditch Cup 11 will be held April 14-15, 2018 at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex in Round Rock, Texas. The facility has 10 full size soccer fields, two of which are championship style with video scoreboards and bleachers. In making the announcement about hosting the event, Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Nancy Yawn said, "We are honored to host the players, families and fans in Round Rock for the US Quidditch Cup in April 2018!" n Lawnmower Racing Pickleball

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