Demp Bradford Named Executive Director

The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission Board of Directors is proud to announce Demp Bradford will join the Commission as Executive Director, effective July 1, 2016.  Bradford is a sports management industry veteran bringing over 15 years of experience to the organization.  Bradford is relocating to the Asheville area from Greensboro, NC where he served in a variety of roles at the Greensboro Sports Commission and Greensboro Coliseum in which he most recently served as the Director of Events for the Greensboro Tournament Host Committee.

Bradford has a Bachelors Degree from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Masters Degree in Education from East Carolina University.  In addition, Bradford is a Certified Sport Event Executive, a multi-year training program, from the National Association of Sports Commission offered for industry professionals.  “My experiences in Greensboro have been incredible but Asheville is such an amazing community, filled with such vibrancy.   I am very excited to take part and contribute to its increased success,” said Bradford.

The Board of Directors led a three-month process to find an Executive Director that will continue the growth of the Sports Commission’s impact on the community.  Stefan Magura, Chair of the Board of Directors shared that, “The board is thrilled to welcome Demp to the community.   His knowledge and experience is exactly what we were looking for in our new leader.”

Bradford will replace Ben VanCamp who served as the organization’s first Executive Director. VanCamp announced his resignation earlier this spring along with the decision to move closer to family in New England. 

Demp can be reached at demp@ashevillesports.org.

Roller Derby Doubleheader on June 4

On June 4, 2016, the Blue Ridge Roller Girls will hold a doubleheader at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.

The bouts will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the Blue Ridge French Broads vs. A2D2 Arbor Bruising Co., followed by the Blue Ridge All Stars skating against the  A2D2 Brawlstars at 7:00 p.m.
The teams will be honoring Asheville-based nonprofit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue as their chosen charity for this bout. A portion of the bout’s proceeds will go to support Brother Wolf. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization that was founded in order to provide the resources and life saving programs to build a No Kill community. Brother Wolf has been serving the Asheville area since 2007.

Tickets are $13, available for purchase at the U.S. Cellular Center box office. Children 10-years-old and younger will receive free admission.

For more information, visit blueridgerollergirls.com or contact Princess Suck It Up Buttercup (Nicole Orlovitz) at 828-301-8449 or pr@blueridgerollergirls.org.

ABOUT BLUE RIDGE ROLLERGIRLS: The Blue Ridge Rollergirls comprise Asheville, NC’s first all-female, flat track roller derby league. The league’s mission is to actively create, promote, and sustain an environment that fosters strength, courage, vitality, and the empowerment of women in the roller derby sport. The Blue Ridge Rollergirls have “rolled local” in Asheville since 2006 and have been full members of WFTDA since 2012.

ABOUT WFTDA:  The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the international athletic competitions of member leagues. There are currently 369 WFTDA member leagues and 76 affiliated leagues in the WFTDA Apprentice program worldwide. The WFTDA is governed by a five-member, volunteer Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director.
 

USA Gymnastics Region 8 Competition Comes to Asheville This Weekend

The USA Gymnastics Region 8 Level 6, 7 & 8 Championships are being held this weekend at the U.S. Cellular Center Asheville.  The competition is co-hosted by OSEGA Gymnastics of East Asheville and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24.                  

USA Gymnastics Region 8 represents the Southeastern United States with approximately 900 athletes advancing from state level competitions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

“Each level of gymnastics requires athletes to perform certain moves throughout the various elements on the floor”, says Miles Avery, a former US Olympic coach and owner at OSEGA Gymnastics.  “This competition is highly competitive with winners advancing to the National Championships in each level”.

The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission has put an emphasis on attracting gymnastics events since for many years partnering with OSEGA on the Miles Avery Autism Awareness Meet held each February and the Gala Gymnastics Competition held each January at the U.S. Cellular Center.    “Gymnastics has been a great addition to our suite of events, it attracts athletes from all over the region and country and allows for our local gyms to have opportunities for their athletes here in our own community”, shared Ben VanCamp Executive Director of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. 

A schedule of competition can be found on Region8Gymnastics.org and spectators are welcome to attend.  Tickets are available at the door, $15 for adults and $10 for students, children 5 and under are free of charge.  

For more information visit: Region8Gymnastics.org.

Biltmore Volleyball Academy Hosts 20th Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament This Weekend

Biltmore Volleyball Academy (BVA) will host the 20th Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Volleyball Tournament throughout the Asheville area this weekend, Saturday April 16th & Sunday April 17th.   The Tournament is celebrating its 20th Anniversary bringing an estimated 3,500 players, coaches, and their families from throughout the southeast for the largest volleyball competition in the area for girls ranging in age from 13-18 years old. The games are open to the general public at no cost and are an excellent opportunity to support the local players in their own backyard. 

Between homework, practice, and travel, players struggle to balance their responsibilities.  For some, the love of volleyball is not just a passion, but also an escape from life’s challenges. And sometimes, those challenges are greater than we can possibly imagine.  A rising athlete competing on the 14 National Team this year, Makena Phillips is excited about her second season with BVA.   Currently enrolled at Enka Middle, she looks forward to following in her mother Kelly’s footsteps to play for Enka High School’s varsity team.  However this season has been an exceptional challenge for Makena, not because of her technique, but because of an unexpected illness in her family.   Her six year old cousin Mya was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a very rare and fast growing cancer of the lymphatic system. 

The Phillips family is very close.  They live next door to one another, attend the same church, and the cousins are naturally the best of playmates.  “Makena is very caring and loving.  She has been the most affected…she loves Mya to pieces,” said her mother Kelly.

The news of Mya’s diagnosis this past year came just after Mya started the first grade.  The only silver lining was that the disease responds well to treatment.  Unfortunately, Mya’s treatment at Mission Hospital was not successful.  The devastating news arrived while Makena was at practice, where according to Kelly, “…she’s able to forget about [cancer] once she’s on the court.”  Bouncing off the court with an adrenaline high, Kelly waited to tell her daughter the news until they were in the car. 

Mya is now at Duke Hospital for treatment, starting with stronger chemotherapy.  She’s lost her hair, and her bright smile needs reminders of life outside of hospitals, so, the girls FaceTime often.  They are innocent and silly, and will talk about things that bring a smile, like puppies.  Makena recently introduced Mya to her new puppy, a gift from a BVA teammate. 

Makena will compete with her team this weekend at tournament.  She loves the sport and seeks to excel, not just for her team, but for Mya.  She has a long road ahead with radiation, auto stem cell and bone marrow transplants.  But this weekend, Mya is looking forward to volleyball stories and a possible win for the 14 National Team.

The Jr Hi Neighbor Volleyball Tournament will bring 132 teams to the Asheville area to compete.  In 1997, the City of Asheville’s Parks & Recreation Department created the Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament as a spin off from their Adult Hi Neighbor Tournament.  It was also the first 2-day volleyball tournament in the Carolinas.   The partnership continued for 19 years until the City of Asheville decided that the Biltmore Volleyball Academy should produce the event independently.  For the 20th event this year, matches will be held at various facilities throughout the region including Mars Hill College, UNC Asheville, Asheville High School & Middle School, North Buncombe, AC Reynolds, Asheville School, and Hendersonville High Schools. 

The Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament also provides scholarships for local athletes through the Jordan Hodges Scholarship Fund, for players who demonstrate a passion and commitment to the sport, and are in need financial assistance.  The Fund is in memoriam of the promising young volleyball player Jordan Hodges, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2009 at the age of 14. To honor her and help others follow their dream to play volleyball, 22 scholarships have been awarded since its inception.

Biltmore Volleyball Academy (BVA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 to promote and enhance volleyball in Western North Carolina by providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all ages and levels to develop. BVA is the premier club in WNC offering the highest level of coaching, including UNCA, Mars Hill College and area high school coaches.  If you would like to make a gift to Mya’s family for medical expenses, please e-mail Executive Director Rhesa Edwards at rhesag7@yahoo.com .  For more information about the 2016 Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament schedule, visit BVA’s website or Facebook Page.

2016 SoCon Championships Weekend Festivities

The Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships return to Asheville for its fifth-straight year, with several new special events surrounding the 2016 festivities. 

Highlighting the extracurricular events is BBQ, Beer & Basketball on Monday, Mar. 7, from 5:30 – 7:45 pm, on the concourse at the US Cellular Center.  Attendees will be able to sample BBQ and Beer from Asheville’s most popular restaurants and breweries, including Luella’s, Buxton Hall, Doc Brown’s, Bonfire, Precision Palate and Dickey’s for BBQ and Catawba Brewery, Oskar Blues, Highland Brewing, Hi Wire and Pisgah Brewery for beer.  Tickets to BBQ, Beer & Basketball must be purchased as an add-on to their Championship game ticket, through TicketMaster.com or the US Cellular Center box office.  Cost for the event is $15 for full access and $10 for those under 21 or designated drivers. 

The Downtown Dribble returns on Saturday, with approximately 500 kids dribbling through the streets of Asheville.  Each kid will receive a free ticket to the first men’s game on Saturday at the US Cellular Center.  Prior to the Downtown Dribble will be KidsFest, located in Pack Square, beginning at 9 am.  KidsFest will incorporate kid-friendly activities with healthy lifestyle exhibits, and will be co-hosted by the YMCA of Western NC and iheart radio. 

The newest addition to the 2016 Championships is the first ever SoCon Teddy Bear toss, also on Saturday during halftime of the Noon game.  Attendees are encouraged to make a small donation to Mission Children’s Hospital and in return, will receive a stuffed animal to throw on the court during the game.  Bears thrown will be donated back to Mission Children’s Hospital and provided to kids visiting the hospital for treatments.

Details for events surrounding the 2016 Southern Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships can be found below:

Education Days– Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4

The Southern Conference will be playing host to local elementary school children in Asheville and the surrounding region for the 11:30 am women’s quarterfinal round game on Thursday, March 3 and the 11 am women’s semifinal round game on Friday, March 4.

Downtown Dribble and KidsFest – Saturday, March 5

Pack Square in Downtown Asheville will be populated by games, activities, bands, cheerleaders and mascots, as well as healthy lifestyle exhibits and interactives for children.  KidsFest will begin at 9 am and conclude at 11 am, with the start of the fourth annual Downtown Dribble.  Each kid participating in the Downtown Dribble will receive a free t-shirt and basketball and participate in a dribble parade from Pack Square to the U.S. Cellular Center.  Participants in the Downtown Dribble and KidsFest will also receive free admission to the men’s basketball quarterfinal round session at Noon.

SoCon Teddy Bear Toss – Saturday, March 5, 12:00 Game

Make a small donation to Mission Children's Hospital and you will receive a stuffed animal to throw on the court during the 2016 SoCon Teddy Bear toss.  Bears thrown will be donated to Mission Children's Hospital and provided to kids visiting the hospital for treatments.  1,500 bears are available and ready to put a smile on the face of a child. Mission Children’s Hospital has 130 beds, averages 3,000 patient admissions to its pediatric inpatient units, 4,500 outpatient pediatric surgeries and nearly 14,000 pediatric emergency department visits annually. Each year, approximately 700 ill and premature newborns receive life-saving care in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Mission Children’s Hospital is a member of Mission Health.  The toss will be at halftime at the 12:00 game. 

Wells  Fargo Night - Saturday, March 5

Wells Fargo customers will be able to show their Wells Fargo debit cards for $5 off a regular price adult ticket on Saturday night, March 5th.  Wells Fargo been a supporter of the SoCon Basketball Championships since its return to Asheville in 2012.  The first 2,000 attendees will also receive a free Wells Fargo basketball stress ball.  

SoCon Overtime

When the games end each day, the action in Asheville will be heating up off the court.  Local bars, restaurants and breweries participating in SoCon Overtime will offer musical entertainment, as well as drink and food specials during SoCon 2016.

Basketball, BBQ & Beer – Monday, March 7

The pre-game indoor tailgate party will take place in the concourse area of the U.S. Cellular Center.  The event will give patrons an opportunity to sample fare from various Asheville-Area barbeque restaurants and breweries.  Tickets for the event will be $15 or $10 for designed drivers and those under the age of age 21.  Those attending the event will also need to possess a ticket for Monday night’s championship game, which will take place at 9 pm.

For more information about each event, the tournament or ticket sales, please visit SoConTravel.com.  

YMCA Partners with Southern Conference Basketball Championships for Free Youth Competition

Children ages 7–12 invited to participate for chance to compete at 2016 Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale.

The YMCA of Western North Carolina is partnering with Southern Conference for a special competition for the youth in our community. Children ages 7–12 are invited to showcase their shooting skills for a chance to compete in a shootout at the 2016 General Shale Southern Conference Tournament, being held March 3–7, 2016, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.

One hundred percent of all souvenir program sales and proceeds from a silent auction filled with sports memorabilia from each SoCon school will benefit the YMCA’s Annual Campaign.

The competition is open to boys and girls ages 7 through 12. The event is free and open to the community; participants do not have to be members of the Y. Each participant will receive an official SoCon Shootout T-shirt, while supplies last.

The first round of competition will take place on Sun., Feb. 21, at the Asheville, Corpening Memorial, Reuter Family, and Hendersonville Family YMCAs. Participants will be split into age groups of 7–8 year olds, 9–10 year olds, and 11–12 year olds. Boys and girls in each age group will compete against each other.

The top five scorers from each age group at each Y location will advance to the market finals on Sun., Feb. 28, at the Asheville and Reuter YMCAs. The winner of each age group in each market will compete at the semi-finals and finals on Sun., March 6, at the 2016 Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale in Asheville. 

Pre-registration for the shootout is recommend but not required. Competition times vary by age group at the first round of competition on Sun., Feb. 21. Visit your local YMCA of Western North Carolina for more information about times and registration. For age-verification purposes, all participants must present their birth certificate.

To buy tickets and for more information on the full week of SoCon festivities, visit bit.ly/1TryW9j.

For more information about the shoot-out, please contact Tina Weaver, Director of Program Development, YMCA of Western North Carolina, tweaver@ymcawnc.org, 828 210 9605.

2016 SOCON IS STACKED!

As we welcome a new year in such a beautiful city, we also look forward to a full calendar of exciting sporting events.  The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission is delighted to work with a wide range of partners, sponsors, event promoters, wellness directors, & local agencies to recruit, manage, & produce world-class events for the residents & visitors of Asheville.  Take a look at some of our diverse events for this year, be sure to put them on your calendar, & join us for the fun!

March is a big month for us, as we welcome back the 2016 SoCon Basketball Championships to the US Cellular Center March 3-7, presented by General Shale.  The conference games have proven to be adrenaline-filled so far this season, so we anticipate some high-energy championship games right here, in Asheville, in just 5 weeks. Don't miss out on the excitement! To purchase tickets & for more information about lodging, events, & volunteering, click HERE.  

The ABRSC has partnered with the YMCA of WNC to expand the annual Kids Fest & Downtown Dribble for our local youth on Saturday, March 5 with diverse & fun activities for kids of all ages, with 600 basketballs on a first-come, first-serve basis. The festival begins at 9am, with an 11am dribble to the US Cellular Center for the noon game.

Additionally, the SoCon championship game on Monday, March 7 (9pm) will be preceded by a BBQ, Beer, & Basketball event on the concourse of the US Cellular Center, showcasing some of the area's best breweries & BBQ restaurants.  The event will take place from 5:30-7:45pm, with a limit of 500 tickets available.  Tickets for that event will be available at the US Cellular Center box office.  More information will be released as we get closer to SoCon weekend!

The 2016 Arby's SoCon Wrestling Championships will take place at the Kimmel Arena, on the campus of UNC-Asheville, Saturday, March 5.  To purchase tickets, & for more information click HERE.

For more information on how you can get involved as a volunteer for the 2016 SoCon Basketball & Wrestling Championships, please check our online sign-up HERE.

To become a community sponsor of SoCon, please contact Ben VanCamp at ben@ashevillesports.org


Cyclocross Information Released

We are only a few weeks away from the 2016 USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships, held at the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville!  As athletes prepare for their big races, and spectators with their best cheering, not to mention our volunteers for their hard work, there is much to communicate.  We've decided to pass along some of the important information to all who are coming to participate in these historic days.  

We have worked the Biltmore and USA Cycling to build a comprehensive suite of documents, including a course map, tech guide, visitor guide, and information about expo and team parking.

Hopefully you can find what you're looking for in the links below--if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us (micah@ashevillesports.org)

USA CYCLING'S EVENT WEBSITE

USAC TECH GUIDE

BILTMORE VISITOR GUIDE

COURSE MAP

TEAM PARKING INFO (stay tuned--coming soon)

EXPO VENDOR INFO (stay tuned--coming soon)

 

If you have specific questions about ticketing for the Biltmore Estate, please call them directly at 800-411-3812

2016 SoCon Basketball Tickets On Sale

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Basketball season is nearly upon us, which means it's almost time to welcome the Southern Conference Basketball teams back to Asheville.  The 2016 SoCon Basketball Championships presented by General Shale returns to the U.S. Cellular Center for March 3-7, 2016. You won't want to miss the opportunity to share the excitement of NCAA basketball with your friends and family.

Tickets can be purchased at the U.S. Cellular Center box office or a Southern Conference school box office.

2016 Ticket Prices

All Sessions GA books - $110
Single Session GA  - $20
VIP Reserved book - $200
GA single session for group of 10 or more  -$14
Student/Youth GA single session - $10
Business Booster program - $150
5 and under  - Free