Sports planning is hard to do. Not only do you need to find the best sports venue and the right hotel, you also have to provide for off-the-field fun. Whether this time is spent enjoying local food, seeing the sights or just hanging out around the pool, it’s got to be memorable. After all, sports travel isn’t just about the game: it’s about all the fun you have before, during and after the game.
Midland, a West Texas city located mid-way between El Paso and Fort Worth — hence the name — is an ideal place to host a sporting event. After all, this city was part of the inspiration behind Friday Night Lights. And they have the event venues to back it up. But what else can Midland do for your sports planning experience?
What Can My Team Do in Midland?
The victory might be won on the court or field, but plenty of memories are made off it when you do sports travel. In Midland, your group can choose from quite a lot of non-competitive activities.
Enjoy the ropes course, games, food and a first-run movie at Cinergy Cinemas or if you’re up for a little mind bending fun, complete the maze at Old Miners Maze. Your team may want to indulge their sweet tooth with a trip to Susie’s South Forty Confections where you can see the confectioners in action with a factory tour (call for availability) followed by samples and the opportunity to take some home in the on-site gift shop.
There are a lot of things to keep groups happily occupied. In the summer months, groups can catch Summer Mummers at the Yucca Theatre, the world’s longest running melodrama is celebrating 70 years in 2018. Throw popcorn at the villains (and each other), cheer for the heroes and drink lots of beer at this West Texas tradition (not recommended for those under 18).
What if your group is interested in sports, sports and more sports? In that case, check out the professional teams in and around Midland. Groups can take their pick from baseball (Midland RockHounds), soccer (Midland-Odessa Sockers) or football (West Texas Drillers).
If you have extra time and feel like a drive, Midland is located within hours of Big Bend National Park where the outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home. The Midland International Air & Space Port is the closest commercial airport to Big Bend National Park.
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COM Mabee Aquatics Center
There are exciting things going on at COM Mabee Aquatics Center – particularly a new expansion. The FMH Foundation Natatorium, opened spring 2016, is a 43,000 square foot facility and features an olympic-size pool, measuring 50 meters by 25 yards. The center hosts multiple swim and dive meets each year, including the Frost Bank West Texas Invitational, U.S. Swimming Junior National Championships, U.S. Diving National Championships and an Olympic Team Diving Exhibition.
As you might expect, the facilities are top-notch: two 25-yard competitive pools, a springboard and diving platform and a fitness center lead the way.
Midland County Horseshoe Arena & Pavilion
The 100-acre Horseshoe Arena Complex is another Midland venue celebrating something new: the outdoor amphitheater opened in 2016 and can accommodate up to 4,500 patrons. The Horseshoe Pavilion can host a variety of sports and activities, including rodeos, dance and cheer competitions, gymnastics, martial arts, wrestling, table tennis and horseshoes. The Pavilion and its neighboring Amphitheatre come with dressing rooms, production rooms, on-site parking and restrooms and a box office. This space is ideal for hosting larger events: altogether, they can host anywhere from 2,862 to well over 6,000 people.
Scharbauer Sports Complex
If you can kick it, hit it or catch it, you’ll likely find room to do your thing at Scharbauer Sports Complex. Made up of three facilities – Grande Communications Stadium, Security Bank Ballpark, and Cimarex Energy Pavilion – the Scharbauer Sports Complex contains excellent playing surfaces for football, soccer, and baseball. There’s one World Cup-sized soccer field and one regulation football field, both with synthetic turf. Four multi-purpose athletic fields were completed in 2017. The Grande Communications Stadium has seating for 15,000; the Ballpark seats 5,000, and both sites have additional seating possible on a grass berm. Onsite parking, restrooms, designated media areas, press boxes, coaches’ booths and community rooms round out the amenities.
Bush Tennis Center
The Bush Tennis Center is entering its fourth year. Recently featured in The New York Times, this is Midland’s newest tennis complex. With 18 full-sized courts, there’s plenty of room for your group to get their game on, but a stadium and eight quick-start courts provide even more space if you need it. There’s also an education building and a pro shop to keep everyone up to speed. Tennis greats like Mike and Bob Bryan and Sam Qerrey have made multiple trips to Midland and will headline the 2017 Henry Resources West Texas Classic.
Midland Memorial Stadium
If you’re looking for a venue that’s ready to host track and field or football, check into what the Midland Memorial Stadium offers. It has a natural grass playing surface, coaches’ boxes, radio and TV booths, a PA system and a scorecard booth, and player locker rooms. Seating for up to 10,750 give spectators lots of room to cheer on their teams.
Properly known as the Al G. Langford Chaparral Center, this venue is located on the campus of Midland College. It can seat up to 5,500, and its highly configurable playing space has been used to accommodate basketball and volleyball events. On-site amenities include an elevator, restrooms and four concession stands.
If your group needs LOTS of room to play croquet, horseshoes, soccer, baseball or softball, then Hogan Park’s 620 acres should rank high on your list of venues. With Bill Williams’ Softball Complex, Hogan Park Golf Course and the Dog Park there’s something for everyone, even your furry friends. Here’s how the numbers add up: five lit baseball fields, 11 lit 300-foot softball fields, two U9-U10 soccer fields, four U11 to pro lit soccer fields and a croquet/horseshoe courts.
On-site amenities are also ample. They include a pro shop, a pavilion, three concession buildings, 54 picnic tables, two playgrounds, 12 grills and nine restrooms. A walking park and dog park are also available on the premises along with plenty of parking.
Hogan Park Golf Course
Fresh from a recent $2 million course improvement, Hogan Park is ready to host your next golfing tournament. With two courses combining for 36 holes of golf, there’s no reason to run out of space. A new, larger driving range, five target greens with laser yardage discs and two practice greens – one for chipping, one for putting – round out the sporting arrangements. Golf lessons are available, and gear from the pro shop is carefully chosen with each player’s game in mind. After the game, the on-site restaurant is a great place to grab a bite to eat.
Freddie Ezell Sports Complex at Ulmer Park
This 26-acre facility is the perfect place for softball and volleyball. From its nine 200-foot lit softball fields to its five sand volleyball courts, there’s plenty of room for players. And, with seating for 300, there’s plenty of room for folks to cheer them on. Off the field, two concessions buildings and three restrooms cater to everyone’s needs, while eight shade canopies keep the hot Texas sun at bay. Two grills, drinking fountains, two pavilions and a pair of playgrounds round out the amenities.
How Can We Get to Midland?
Getting to Midland is easy, whether your group is coming in locally or from other parts of the country.
By Car: Midland is located directly off Interstate 20 in western Texas. It’s within a day’s drive of Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and El Paso.
By Plane: Midland is served by the Midland International Air and Space Port. Just a few minutes out of town, the airport provides out-of-towners with extremely convenient access. and services 26 daily flights from United, American Eagle, Southwest.