Erie, PA: The Erie Sports Commission presented six awards when it hosted its fourth annual Event Recognition and Awards Dinner on Thursday, February 15, 2018 in the Crystal Ballroom at the Ambassador Conference Center.
Dave Warner accepted the first award of the night, the Impact Award, for the PA State 8-Ball Tournament, which celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2017. The event experienced its largest year to date in 2017, generating an economic impact of nearly $1.2 million over three days of competition.
LeAnn Johnson was named the Erie Sports Commission’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year for her work supporting the USA Volleyball National Junior Beach Tour, which stopped in Erie for the first time in June 2017. Johnson served as the volunteer local event director for the national event.
County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper presented the New Event of the Year award to AJ Handler of Pro Watercross, who brought the Flyboard National Tour to Erie for the first time in June 2017. The event was held in conjunction with the annual Erie Poker Run to create “Waterfront Weekend”, which saw thousands of spectators on Erie’s Bayfront.
The Event Series of the Year Award was presented to Kim Soder and Heather Petz of Champion Cheer Central by Gary Drapcho, Sports Director at Erie News Now. Champion Cheer Central added a fourth event to their Erie schedule in 2017, Champions of Dance, which saw more than 300 participants in its first year. Altogether, Champion Cheer events in Erie in 2017 generated more than $1 million in economic impact and saw 9,500 participants and patrons.
Doug Pershun, owner of Erie Gymnastics Center, accepted the award for Locally Managed Event of the Year for the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational, which saw an event-high 1,700 athletes compete over four days in the 2017 competition. The award was presented by Mario Mazza, Chairman of the Board of Directors of VisitErie.
Erie Mayor Joe Schember presented the final award of the evening, the National Event of the Year, to the VNEA World Junior Pool Championships, which was held in Erie for the second year in 2017. Ed Borgia, President of the Valley National 8-Ball League Association (VNEA), accepted the award. The World Junior Pool Championships brought young 8-ball players from as far away as New Zealand to Erie in June 2017.
The dinner was held to honor and recognize the outstanding efforts of those people who made 2017 a successful year for the Erie Sports Commission. The ESC hosted and supported 59 events in 2017, resulting in an estimated economic impact of more than $16 million. More than 100 event rights holders, venue directors, elected officials, community leaders and their guests attended the event.