SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Organizers of large sporting events are regularly asked by attendees – “What else is there to do around here?” One destination offers an answer to this question unlike others in the Southeast. Wilderness at the Smokies resort in Sevierville, Tenn. features everything an event organizer, athlete or spectator would want in an event, without even stepping outside – making it one of the Southeast’s only year-round destinations for sporting events.
Within a day’s drive for 75 percent of the Eastern U.S. population, Wilderness at the Smokies has 200,000 square feet of space available for hosting major national youth sporting events including:
- gymnastics competitions
- cheerleading competitions
- basketball tournaments
- karate and wrestling tournaments
- volleyball tournaments
- BMX and skateboarding events
The most recent (and one of the largest) was the K2 Volleyball Wilderness at the Smokies Tournament, which took place over two weekends last month. This year’s tournament included more than 3,500 athletes and 15,000 total attendees.
“This event has been so successful, we have grown it each year and plan to expand once again in 2013,” said Erin Caylor, a coach for K2 Volleyball Club. “We were completely at capacity for this year’s event and had a lengthy list of teams from around the country on a waiting list.”
“Wilderness at the Smokies resort was wonderful to work with, and they truly were a partner in helping us host a top-notch tournament,” added Caylor.
To assist with the setup for sporting events, Wilderness at the Smokies has its own sports court flooring and can provide up to 21 volleyball courts and nets or, if the sport is basketball, five full-size basketball courts.
The traditional January and February “slow season” for Smoky Mountain tourism received a big assist in the form of the volleyball tournament in 2012. For two consecutive weekends, the nation’s best volleyball clubs competed in the tournament, bringing more than 18,000 people to Sevierville and generating an estimated economic impact in excess of one million dollars. The event has proven to be such a success that tournament organizers are considering adding a third weekend in January 2013 to accommodate the waiting list of teams hoping to participate.
Wilderness at the Smokies contributed $5 million to the Sevierville economy in 2011 in taxes alone.
Attached to the Sevierville Events Center, Wilderness at the Smokies offers more than 700 mountain modern guest rooms and multi-room suites in addition to condominiums and a Wyndham Vacation Resort on the Wilderness property.
With restaurants, gift shops, convenience stores, game rooms, mini-golf, lounges, a deli, two outdoor waterparks and the area’s largest indoor waterpark, it isn’t necessary to leave the amazing resort. While staying at Wilderness at the Smokies resort, guests can swim, surf and splash in the waves in 84-degree weather all year because of the huge indoor waterpark and other amenities. Also, Wilderness has countless meeting rooms where teams and athletes can meet with coaches to prepare, go over strategy and review results before, during and after competitions.
A brand new indoor park, Adventure Forest, opens in March 2012, doubling the resort’s indoor offerings.
The president of NetLynx, Doug Janeska, who organized the Smoky Mountain Gymnastics Vacation Classic at Wilderness, said, “My company has organized over 40 major competitive events across the country over the past 25 years. One of the biggest events we’ve ever had was the Smoky Mountain Vacation Gymnastics Classic at Wilderness at the Smokies resort.” The resort played host to nearly 7,000 people during this four-day event.
Wilderness at the Smokies, located minutes from Interstate 40 and situated in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is establishing a new standard for athletic competitions, conferences, conventions and meetings in East Tennessee. With six restaurants, two 18-hole golf courses, two outdoor waterparks, an indoor waterpark with a wave pool and surf rider, hot tubs, and countless waterslides and attractions, and the brand new Adventure Forest, Wilderness at the Smokies has something for all age groups. For more information about Wilderness at the Smokies, visit www.WildernessAtTheSmokies.com.