Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Triple Crown of Watercross Event Makes a Splash on Lake Hartwell

Press Release August 16, 2010: Triple Crown of Watercross Event Makes A Splash on Lake Hartwell

Media Contacts:
•Wendi Bailey, Toccoa-Stephens County (T-SC) Chamber President, 706-886-2132
•Kathy Benson, Anderson, South Carolina Convention & Visitors Bureau Ex. Director, 864-716-3660
•Connie Tabor, Toccoa Mainstreet Director, 706-282-3269
•Larry Torrence, Lake Hartwell Marketing Alliance (LHMA) Chair, 706-436-0166, visit www.mylakehartwell.org.
•Upstate Watercraft Promotions has Race Results on www.uwpinc.com
•International Jet Sports Boating Association, www.ijsba.com
•Pictures courtesy of Glenn Brill, Director Anderson County Parks, Recreation & Tourism Division, 864-260-1092

The inaugural Triple Crown Watercross Competition on Lake Hartwell was held August 13-15th at the Big Oaks Recreation Area in Hart County. Over 150 watercraft racers participated and spectators came by car and boat - about 2,500 on Saturday and 3,000 on Sunday, to see speed and stunts. Rob Flores from Las Vegas and Ermino Iantosca from Naples were two points leaders racing to qualify for the upcoming nationals.

Mainstreet Director Connie Tabor and Chamber of Commerce President Wendi Bailey both serve on the Lake Hartwell Marketing Alliance (LHMA) board along with other lake-surrounding county’s representatives from Franklin, Hart, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee. The LHMA successfully attracted the Watercross event to the Lake and the board as well as many volunteers organized the weekend activities.

The riders each received Lake Hartwell gift bags at registration with gift items and brochures from each of the counties. All reports indicate they loved the warm weather, deep water and Southern hospitality. It was the perfect environment for the first event of its kind in the southeast!

The PR and media coverage leading up to and during the event, including ESPN brought great visibility to our Lake Hartwell region. WNEG TV News Channel 32, WNEG Radio AM 630 and Advantage Cable Marketing sponsored the event by running commercials created by Good Machine. Riders and spectators came from all over including Canada and Germany. They ate food from Shirley’s Sole Food, heard music from Flash the DJ and learned about the region by visiting the county’s information booths.

T-SC volunteers included Peter and Wendi Bailey, David and Lynn Cox, Harry and Patti Joiner, Don and Connie Tabor and Jackie Whitmire. They helped share information about our T-SC attractions and upcoming events. “Many of the riders are staying in the region before leaving for Charleston, West Virginia for the next race,” said Connie Tabor Mainstreet Director, “we invited them to visit Toccoa-Stephens County attractions, restaurants and retail shops this week.”

On Friday, the counties and sponsors each entered a team of amateurs in the Corporate Challenge. The Toccoa-Stephens County team placed 4th out of 11 teams. Mike Haynie from 1st Franklin Financial Corporation had the fastest team time of 1:07, Peter Bailey, Wendi Bailey and Roger Guimond each had times of 1:08. The Mayor of Hartwell, Jennifer Scott had the overall fastest time of 1:04.

On Saturday, nine types of Riders (beginner to pro) on four types of watercrafts (seated or standing) competed in four types of classes (stock to modified) and five different events (endurance, drag racing to freestyle tricks). Each race begins with 20 racers, male and female, side-by-side all wanting to be first going into turn one.

Upstate Watercraft Promotions, the national promoter partnering with the International Jet Sports Boating Association is looking at venues in Anderson, SC for the 2011 event. Organizers believe it will continue to grow and be an economic boost for the Lake Hartwell region for years to come. “We are excited about the future of the LHMA and the other events being contemplated now, said Wendi Bailey Chamber President. “Tourists don’t see borders, just warm smiles and friendly faces. I came home with brochures from each of the counties and plan to create a new section in our Welcome Center called the Lake Hartwell Region.”

Watercross Event programs, T-shirts, caps, poster art, gift bags and other LHMA souvenir items are still available for purchase. Please call the Chamber at 706-886-2132.