A thriving sports tourism industry is a gift that keeps on giving.
As Victoria’s first sports tourism manager, my job is to collaborate with city staff and community partners to help showcase what Victoria has to offer in the area of sports—to make sure tournament directors and athletes know that Victoria is not only perfect for their next sporting event but also a great place to explore. When people visit our community and keep coming back, our economy grows and businesses are encouraged to open their doors here, making Victoria even more attractive to residents and visitors.
Sports tourism truly benefits our whole community, so it’s fitting that we’ve “stepped up our game” and expanded our community partnerships for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Winter Games. Last year’s event proved that the City is capable of hosting successful competitions of this scale, and now that we have a sports tourism manager working with staff to contribute to the city’s economic development goals, the time is perfect to grow these events, allowing them to be bigger and better.
Thanks to partners like Victoria ISD, Victoria College, Victoria Country Club and STX Archery & Outdoors, we’re able to showcase more of Victoria’s facilities as well as expand on what we are able to offer. We’re especially excited this year to host three sanctioned events (cornhole, wheelchair basketball and tennis). “Sanctioned” means that these sports will be played according to the rules of their respective governing bodies, which makes them more attractive to athletes who want to improve their rankings.
The first weekend of the TAAF Winter Games will be Jan. 13-16. To view information about individual events, register, or get visitor information, visit www.victoriatx.gov/tournaments.
The TAAF Winter Games will return for its second weekend here Feb. 25-26 with a massive youth softball tournament. Fifty-two teams have registered for this tournament so far, making it one of the biggest that we’ve hosted in the past two years. During the event’s third weekend, March 4-6, we’ll host disc golf, flag football, golf, kayaking and adult tennis.
We will again partner with the Bad News Chairs, Victoria’s local adaptive sports team, as we host a sanctioned adaptive tennis competition in the spring. The Bad News Chairs’ mission of promoting awareness, advocacy and inclusion ties in with our goals, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that every athlete has a chance to compete.
Also this spring, we will host our first American Junior Golf Association Tournament as part of a three-year contract. These tournaments attract young golfers from around the country and the world as they compete to improve their rankings and win scholarships.
Other events coming up this year include the annual Victoria Open disc golf tournament Feb. 10-12 in Riverside Park, which is expected to attract more than 300 participants; the annual All Pro Tour golf tournament (also called the Victoria Open) Sept. 12-15 at Victoria Country Club; and a new Teen Masters Championships bowling competition at Century Lanes in the fall.
It is my hope that our growing sports tourism industry will inspire residents to join us in our mission of improving Victoria. That could mean volunteering at sporting events (contact me at 361-485-3204 or email@example.com if you’re interested) or volunteering with groups like Keep Victoria Beautiful that cultivate community pride. Let’s work as a team to make Victoria a great place to live and play for all our residents and visitors.
We will continue to seek out community feedback and support from local organizations as we expand the number and variety of sporting events offered in Victoria. If you have an idea for a type of competition you’d like to see here, please reach out to me at 361-485-3204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle Myers is the sports tourism manager for the City of Victoria.