Local News Coverage
WVLT NEWS CHANNEL 8 KNOXVILLE:
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Hundreds of softball players are in Pigeon Forge for the week as part of the Sporting Events Association of America 2016 World Series.
103 teams from 17 states, including from the Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, including some from as far away at Iowa and Wisconsin, will call the Smokies home.
“Most people make this a family vacation. The tournament has an organized event at Dixie Stampede, teams go to Dollywood on their own schedules and people scatter to enjoy all of the things do see and do here,” Mullins said Freddie Mullins, co-owner of SEAA.
The teams are playing at Wear Farm City Park which opened in March 2013. The park has 40 acres for five lighted softball/baseball fields, a lighted football field, a playground, two shelters, a basketball court, two concession stand/restroom buildings and walking trails.
The tournament ends on Sunday.
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A girls fast pitch tournament is in Pigeon Forge this week and showing visitors what all the Smokies have to offer.
The 2014 SEAA WORLD SERIES is underway in Pigeon Forge through the weekend.
Lisa Borden, was keeping score and cheering on her young star athlete on Thursday afternoon at Wears Farm Park. Borden, from Maryville says the new sports facility is a great asset for Pigeon Forge.
"We've been out in the Pigeon Forge and Sevierville area having a good time and enjoying the beauty of east Tennessee," said Borden.
She says the week is also good for the kids, who can meet new people and expand their sports career.
"The coaches in here teaching them and teaching them how to be classy and have good sportsmanship and really that's what it's all about," said Borden. "Excellent opportunity for all the girls, it's something that keeps them involved in the summer, it's a growing experience for them."
Pigeon Forge hopes to make a return on the investment to the park for years to come. The city hopes to attract many more sports tournaments, bringing the kids and their families.
Not only does the city expect them to spend money while they are here, but hopes they'll become life long vacationers to the Smoky Mountains.
WBIR NEWS CHANNEL 10 KNOXVILLE:
The Knoxville Explosion 8-under coach pitch softball team took home the championshp at the SEAA World Series.
One-hundred ten softball teams converged on Wears Farm City Park in Pigeon Forge this week for the SEAA World Series
The teams came from all over the southeast and as far away as Wisconsin. The Knoxville Explosion took home the championship tonight in the eight under coach pitch division. The tournament is a huge event now, much bigger than when it started over a decade ago.
"The first year we ever did it I think we had 12 teams in it and now we're up to this," said tournament organizer Freddie Mullins. "This is gonna be memories that will last a lifetime for these kids, some of them have never seen anything like this and they're just kind of in awe but they get here and it seems like when they get on the field, they forget about being scared, they just get down to what they really know how to do. They're very dedicated, even your coach pitch kids are very motivated."
(WBIR- Sevier County) Pigeon Forge is known for its tourist attractions, but the city is pursuing youth sports tournaments as another way to bring people to the city, said Tom Adkinson, a spokesperson for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.
He said the tournaments bring people for the sports, but it also allows families to make a vacation out of visiting East Tennessee.
"One significant reason that Pigeon Forge is popular with sports tournaments is all of the family activities that are part of Pigeon Forge," Adkinson said.
States across the southeast are trying to attract sports tournaments because their climates are suitable for outdoor sports, he said, and the most popular youth sports cities want to bring in are softball, lacrosse, gymnastics, cheerleading, and volleyball.
Adkinson said the tournaments have been so successful that Pigeon Forge is planning a baseball complex that will open in 2016.
This week, Pigeon Forge is hosting the 2014 World Series of the Sporting Events Association of America (SEAA). The opening ceremonies for the tournament were held Sunday at the Smokies Stadium.
The event is bringing in 108 teams from 16 states, said Freddie Mullins, owner of SEAA.
"It definitely could have went anywhere," she said, "but we felt like this was the unique place to have it because of what Pigeon Forge has to offer."
Mullins said this is the 14th year they have held the tournament in Pigeon Forge, and they plan to keep it there because it allows families to enjoy more than the softball games.
"We can't get them to the field unless they're playing ball because they want to go out and have fun," she said.
The 007 softball team from Louisiana entered in the tournament for the first time, said Mark Maher, 007 softball coach.
Maher vacationed in Pigeon Forge a few weeks ago, and said he was excited about bringing his team to East Tennessee.
"I told them before we left—you turn the switch on when we get ready to play," he said. "When we finish the game win or lose, we turn the switch off. We have fun and prepare for the next ball game."