Nevada's Sports Push Leads To New Reno-Area Events

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A push to market Nevada as a recreation paradise is leading to three new major sports festivals in the Reno area, tourism officials announced.

SledFest 2004, a national snowmobile festival, is scheduled to debut in April in Reno and the nearby Sierra, said officials at the Reno-Sparks Convention&Visitors Authority.

The Mastercraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is expected to kick off here in June - probably at the Sparks Marina with national television exposure.

And a series of youth and adult basketball tournaments are planned to start in February and run through September 2005 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

"Most of the events that we announced fit hand in glove with our strategy of positioning this destination as `Reno-Tahoe, America's Adventure Place,'"Jeff Beckelman, RSCVA president and chief executive, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

SledFest, which will feature a trade show in Reno and trail riding at Lake Tahoe, is expected to draw 5,000 participants its first year.

"SledFest is designed to be an annual event to reach a demographic we normally would not,"Beckelman said."A majority of snowmobilers recreate in the Midwest."

Plans call for the Mastercraft Pro Wakeboard Tour to take place June 5-6 at the Sparks Marina, and be broadcast nationally on ESPN and Fox Sports Network.

A wakeboard is similar to a snowboard, only it's pulled by a motorboat like water skis.

The RSCVA is joining forces with the local Jam On It Basketball Academy to hold 23 basketball tournaments at the convention center, which will house 30 full-size courts.

The tournaments are expected to draw more than 2,000 teams, 24,000 players and 27,000 spectators from across the country, and pump about $18 million into the local economy.