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Area sporting events bring in visitors

February 25, 2014
By SETH STASKEY - Sports Editor , Times Leader

THERE ARE countless things to do in the Ohio Valley.

Though the biggest event held annually is Jamboree in the Hills, area sporting events do quite well in bringing people to the area and boosting the economy.

"Without a doubt, Jamboree is the biggest event," said Doc Householder of the Belmont County Tourism Council. "Several sporting events do quite well, but I am not sure I see it getting any bigger than it is."

The Powerline Park, which is located west of St. Clairsville, hosts motocross events throughout the year and four-wheeler events.

Last summer the park welcomed thousands of people in August for the 'Tough Mudder.' People came from all over the tri-state area and nation to compete in one of the most grueling tests of endurance in the world.

"We get a lot of calls about the events held at Powerline Park," Householder said.

The 2013 event was the first time it was held in the valley and it's already signed to return this summer.

July is a big month for hotels and restaurants in the Ohio Valley. Obviously, Jamboree in the Hills leads the charge, but in the sports world there are two events held during the month that prove to beneficial in bringing people to the area.

The annual Beast of the East Baseball Tournament is held on nearly every baseball field in the Ohio Valley for four days over the Fourth of July weekend.

The event brings in teams from all over the United States and Canada in four age brackets (19U, 16U, 14U and 12U).

The teams begin arriving in the Ohio Valley on Wednesday and stay through Sunday, which pumps all sorts of revenue into the Ohio Valley economy.

"Hotels are normally all filled for the Beast of the East," Householder said. "It's a really big draw for the area as well."

As it pertains to basketball, the biggest annual event in the Ohio Valley has become the Cancer Research Classic, which is held on the first weekend in January at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Basketball fans from far away converge on Wheeling for the multi-day event that features some of the premier hoop players in the United States. The tournament has also brought national recognition to the area since a couple of the games have been broadcast on national television each of the last three years.

Two big road races that serve as a boost to the tourism. The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon has long been a Memorial Day Weekend staple in downtown Wheeling. The event draws runners and walkers from all over America and the world.

On top of the half marathon, the race expanded several years ago to include a 5K, which has also enhanced its ability to draw competitors.

The Debbie Green Memorial 5K has grown into one of the top road races in the area. Held in August in downtown Wheeling, it draws some 1,500 entrants each year.

Also in Wheeling, Oglebay's pristine golf courses are a big draw to the area. There are three courses there. The Jones and Palmer comprise the Speidel Golf Club and the Crispin Center. All three host area tournaments during the course of the summer months.

Staskey may be reached at



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