The weekend of Friday, March 24 will see Topeka hotels at 100 percent occupancy for the annual USA Kansas Kids Wrestling State Tournament at the Kansas Expocentre. With almost 1,500 participants and 7,000-total out of town visitors, the event is the largest of the year for the city in terms of economic impact.
“The impact of the Kansas Kids Wrestling event is simply beyond words,” says County Commissioner Kevin Cook. “It is important for Topeka in that it allows a large group of individuals to experience our community and potentially think about it positively in the future as a home for them or their families.”
The tournament has been in the capital city for over 25 years, with 2017 being a crucial year as the contract expires in 2018. Visit Topeka, Topeka Lodging Association, and the Kansas Expocentre will make a bid presentation this summer to the organization’s board of directors to keep the event in Topeka for years to come.
“It should be a rite of passage for state tournaments of this magnitude to be in the state capital every year,” said Brett Oetting, President & CEO of Visit Topeka Inc. “For that matter, we encourage all state-wide events to choose the state capital as their location. Topeka has quality venues for everything from sports to conferences to tradeshows. Most importantly, we have an excellent group of community leaders eager to help make every group feel special.”
The past three years has seen this event bring over $4 million in direct spending to Topeka with an additional $300,000 in local tax revenues collected. Travel and Tourism tax revenues are vital to the community as they help keep personal taxes from rising. Visitor spending creates supplemental revenue for the Topeka and Shawnee County governments, which help pay for essential services like fire and law enforcement.
Kayla Bitler, President of the Topeka Lodging Association, says the association values its longstanding partnership with the tournament.
“Every year, the Lodging Association is fortunate to have the opportunity to host a barbeque for the wrestlers. Not only do hoteliers purchase and prepare the food, but we also serve the wrestlers on the night of their weigh-in,” she said. “There is not another single event that occurs in Topeka that so intimately involves our association and it is exciting to have this opportunity. This event is a part of Topeka, and we are so grateful to be involved.”
New for 2017 participants, Visit Topeka is helping the community identify visitors. Each athlete will be in possession of a badge credential with a lanyard. Visit Topeka is asking all athletes to wear their credential throughout the weekend while dining, shopping, and navigating around Topeka. A PDF of the credential is included for reference.
“We want the entire community to know how many visitors are attending for this specific event,” Oetting said. “These visitors will be eating and shopping in your friends and family’s businesses, helping to grow our economy. It is important that Topekans know the economic strength of this annual event.”
Any business wishing to offer discounts to the athletes and their families is encouraged to call Visit Topeka at (785) 234-1030.