• Pensacola Beach Betting On Sports Tourism | Pro Rider Watercraft Magazine
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    Pensacola Beach Betting On Sports Tourism
    Feb201416

    Imagine the adrenalin-fueled thrill of NASCAR racing but on water coupled with the fierce battle of skills found in motorcross. That’s the popular sport of pro-watercross.

    The Hydro-Turf Pro-Watercross event being planned for May on Pensacola Beach has the potential to attract 10,000 spectators. The event is planned for May 9-11 and will involve about 250 competitors racing and competing in freestyle tricks in the Gulf of Mexico off of Casino Beach on Pensacola Beach.

    The Hydro-Turf Pro-Watercross event being planned for May on Pensacola Beach has the potential to attract 10,000 spectators. The event is planned for May 9-11 and will involve about 250 competitors racing and competing in freestyle tricks in the Gulf of Mexico off of Casino Beach on Pensacola Beach. / Special to the Pensacola News Journal

    PNJ.com
    Imagine the adrenalin-fueled thrill of NASCAR racing but on water coupled with the fierce battle of skills found in motorcross. That’s the popular sport of pro-watercross.

    Super-charged personal watercraft teams travel the circuit to events around the country and even the world competing for titles and winnings. Pensacola Beach is looking to get a piece of the high-powered action May 9-11. With a promise of attracting 250 competitors and their support teams, 10,000 spectators, and 30-minutes of fame on Beach Sports Network, the Santa Rosa Island Authority Board voted Wednesday to match Pensacola Sports Association $10,000 sponsorship to attract a leg of the competition to Casino Beach.

    Details still are being worked for the Hydro-Turf Pro-watercross Nationals event. But this is one of many sports tourism opportunities the sports association works to attract to the area each year with a $435,000 annual budget, says the PSA Executive Director Ray Palmer.

    January’s Double Bridge Run that dumped many of the 4,000 runners onto Pensacola Beach is another.

    “We first really started focusing on sports tourism in the mid 1990s, and it has been a hugely successful effort,” Palmer said. “There’s been everything here from roller skating championships to the British para-olympic team that came and trained in Pensacola for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.”

    The goal of the effort is to put heads in hotel beds and of cha-ching from out of town guests in the cash registers of Pensacola area shops, attractions and restaurants.

    That’s what the first pro-watercross of Pensacola Beach will do, said organizer A.J. Handler, who has been talking to Palmer about the possibility of bringing the event to Pensacola for several years.

    “We had visited Pensacola last year and found that it was a great community with its beaches and general facilities that are conducive to our events,” he said.

    “The Pensacola Beach race is the weekend before our Panama City Beach race,” Handler said. “This will keep the competitors in the area a little longer then they may (stay) otherwise, and it will make a great economic impact on the area.”

     

     

     

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