State Championships Important to Communities

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Kearney Visitors Bureau Director Roger Jasnoch says Kearney has become efficient at hosting the state cross country championships during the more than 40 years it's been in the community.

"We work with a lot of volunteers, there's probably 150 plus volunteers what we get from the community and certainly a lot of volunteers from UNK," says Jasnoch.

Kearney will host the event three more years before it's up for bid again, but the NSAA says it's been a good fit.

"The University of Nebraska Kearney, the Kearney Country Club, and this community have embraced this championship and other NSAA events like play production and the state speech championships for years and years and it's a perfect home for it," says NSAA Assistant Director Jim Angele.

Even though the state cross country championships are a single day event, Kearney officials say there's still a significant economic impact from the hundreds of runners and their cheering sections.

"For many restaurants today is their busiest day of the year and so a lot of direct economic impact obviously with 5,000 plus fans and 1,000 plus participants," says Jasnoch. "There might be some shopping going on, things like that."

Jasnoch says while there are other tourism drivers like conventions they work with, he says events like high school activities add up quickly.

"The special events like this are certainly one of the big growth areas for us and we have a number of different venues that support that just like the Country Club here," Jasnoch says.