Erie, PA: The Erie Sports Commission presented six awards when it hosted its third annual Event Recognition and Awards Dinner on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at the Bayfront Convention Center.
John Leisering was named the organization’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year, the first award of the night. Leisering is President of the Erie Metro Chapter of the PA Sports Hall of Fame, which hosted the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Bayfront Convention Center in October. The event had not previously been hosted in Erie since 1993. Local sports legends Joe Moore and Fred Biletnikoff were inducted at the event.
The 2016 New Event of the Year Award was given to the VNEA World Junior Pool Championships, which was held in Erie for the first time in the event’s 25-year history, and saw teams compete from as far away as New Zealand. The event is hosted by Warner Coin Machine.
Barber Beast on the Bay was named the 2016 Locally Managed Event of the Year award for its annual growth and contributions to the Erie community. The event drew more than 1,500 participants in 2016.
The 2016 Impact Award was given to the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational, which is held annually in January and generates an estimated $1 million in economic impact in Erie. The event also won a national award for economic impact in 2016 when it was named one of Sports Destination Management’s “Champions of Economic Impact.”
Keystone Hoops Group accepted the 2016 Event Series of the Year award for its Shoot the Rock basketball tournament series. The group hosted four tournaments in 2016 at various venues throughout Erie.
Finally, the 100% RAW Powerlifting Federation World Championships was named the 2016 National Event of the Year. The event was held in Erie for the first time in October 2016, after having been previously hosted in Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Beach, and elsewhere. The event saw athletes compete from 18 states and six countries, including India, South Africa, Ireland, and Sweden.
The dinner was held to honor and recognize the outstanding efforts of those people who made 2016 a successful year for the Erie Sports Commission. The ESC hosted and supported 54 events in 2016, resulting in an estimated economic impact of more than $14 million. More than 100 event rights holders, venue directors, elected officials, community leaders and their guests attended the event. Don Schumacher, Executive Director of the National Association of Sports Commission, served as the evening’s keynote speaker.