Record weekend expected for Cookeville sports tourism

PUTNAM COUNTY — The Hub City of Cookeville is certainly earning its nickname this weekend, becoming a focal point in the Tennessee sporting scene. Officials are expecting their busiest weekend yet for sports tourism, with nearly 400 teams rolling into town.

Starting Friday, participants and their families in baseball, soccer, basketball and Crossfit will begin filling Cookeville’s hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments. By Saturday morning, all events will be in full swing.

Here is a breakdown of the events hitting Cookeville-Putnam County:

  • There are 120 baseball teams expected at the Baseball Players Association’s (BPA) 5th annual Bellacino’s Classic. The tournament begins on Friday and will run through Sunday at the Cane Creek Sports Complex.
  • The Cookeville Rotary Soccer Classic has 82 teams arriving Friday. The two-day tournament begins Saturday morning at the Upper Cumberland Soccer Complex and extends through Sunday evening. Tourneys will be held for U-9 to U-14 age groups for boys and U-9 to U-19 age groups for girls.
  • Rich Froning’s Mayhem for Mustard Seed Ranch will bring hundreds of competitors from around the globe to sweat with the Fittest Man on Earth in his hometown as a fundraiser for Mustard Seed Ranch. The three-man same-sex team Crossfit competition will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.Saturday at Hyder-Burks Pavilion. Tickets will be available at the door for $15.
  • The 10th annual Cavalier Rumble is taking place in both Cookeville and Sparta. The tournament will have more than 100 teams from third to 11th grade age groups.
  • The 20th annual Tennessee Tech ROTC Golden Eagle Country Run and Walk starts at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The Cookeville-Putnam Sports Council has been working with and coordinating needs for a number of these events, from blocking hotel rooms and securing volunteers to provide hospitality and welcome bags.

“Securing the BlueCross Bowl was the original catalyst for our community to realize its ability to become a major sports destination,” Cookeville-Putnam County Sports Council Chairman Clarence Smith said. “We are working hard to learn more about what we can offer sports event organizers in order to recruit new events, while also finding ways to assist and grow existing events.”

Cookeville-Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Molly Brown agrees.

“This will be the busiest weekend to date for sports tourism in our community. With the combination of events, the economic impact on Putnam County and the Highlands region is sure to surpass that of any BlueCross Bowl weekend that we have hosted.”

The official mission of the Cookeville-Putnam County Sports Council is to solicit, create and support amateur sporting events to Cookeville, Putnam County and the region, and to establish the area as a major sporting event destination. For more information, call (931) 526-2211.

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