The rolling countryside of Southern Ohio is embodied in Clinton County, where sports teams get into the excitement of competition while enjoying the natural beauty of the region. Located a short distance from Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, the county offers a mix of rural simplicity and urban thrills, making it a diverse sports destination. Organizers and teams will find a love and appreciation for sports in Clinton that matches their own.
Clinton County has gained prestige over the years for hosting numerous major sports events, most notably equine competitions. The county draws groups on a national scale and every weekend sees yet another horseshoe roll into town. Roberts Arena has become home to many of these contests, including the Miniature HSA Celebration of Champions Horse Show.
While riding horses is certainly a popular activity in Clinton County, sports events range from traditional ones like baseball and football to atypical ones such as mud runs and land speed racing. Last year, Clinton welcomed the East Coast Timing Association, which held its speed racing events at the Wilmington Airpark. The group is back again in 2013 to host more events, after a successful inaugural year. Clinton has a solid track record of nabbing big athletic events, and it is always looking for more. It will bring the Dirty Girl mud race to the region on June 1, which has around 1,500 participants; and it is working on attracting the Tough Mudder, which usually has between 10,000 and 20,000 runners.
No matter what kind of event comes to Clinton County, it has the sports facilities to accommodate practically anything.
A premier show facility, Roberts Arena host a wide variety of elite horse shows. The sports venue includes two outdoor and two indoor arenas. The indoor facilities are Bradley Arena and Lamar Arena, with capacity for 480 and 268, respectively. The outdoor venues are Freedom Arena and Liberty Arena, and each features bleacher seating. Roberts also has 514 stalls, 91 camper spaces, a party hall, announcer stalls and an on-ground restaurant.
Wilmington College offers sports teams a number of top facilities. The campus features four regulation soccer fields, a 3,500-seat football stadium, and an arboretum used for cross country. Hermann Court, the college’s athletics complex, includes the 3,500-seat Fred Raizk Arena for volleyball, wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball. There are also six lighted tennis courts with 200 seats; the all-weather, eight-lane Beckett Track; the Tewksbury-Delany Field used for baseball and softball matches; an Olympic-sized swimming pool; and the Clinton County YMCA, which is next to the complex. Wilmington College also has an equine center, which features an indoor and outdoor arena and 24 stalls.
Clinton County Fairgrounds
The Fairgrounds have an infield area with a 1-mile track used for a variety of events, such as tractor pulls, motocross, demolition derby and figure 8. The arena has fixed seating for 2,500, with additional bleacher seats available.
Clinton-Massie Local Schools
The local schools in the area provide a plethora of sports venues that can be used for various tournaments. The schools offer a six-lane track surrounding a regulation football field with stadium seating for 1,600; three tennis courts with seating for 200; two regulation soccer fields; and five regulation gymnasiums for basketball, volleyball and wrestling. Capacity is about 1,400, with additional standing-room space.
ODNR Cowan Lake State Park
The 7,000-acre state park features 700 acres of water, four miles of natural trails for hiking and biking, and plenty of sandy beaches. The area is used for sailing, boating, swimming and canoeing events; as well as triathlons and biking events.
Wilmington City Parks
The park system in Clinton County is also another great resource for sports facilities. The parks feature seven baseball/softball fields that can accommodate 200 fans each; four lighted tennis courts; eight regulation horseshoe lighted pits; and three grass soccer fields.
Once a private airport used by DHL, the now abandoned air field has become the go-to spot for racing. And not just any kind of racing. The East Coast Timing Association holds land speed racing events at the airpark, with four scheduled for 2013. Instead of racing against each other, drivers speed down a one-mile stretch to see how fast they can go. The Sports Car Club of America also holds autocross racing competitions at the park, where drivers see how fast they can make their way through a difficult obstacle course.
When teams are not competing, there are plenty of things to do in Clinton County to pass the time. King’s Island Amusement Park, one of the largest theme and water park in the Midwest, is a short drive away and offers athletes and their families a thrilling escape from the tournament. Teams can head to the Cincinnati area to shop at Tanger Outlet Mall at Jeffersonville, which features 140 stores; or stay more local and check out the Caesar Creek Markets or the Shoppes at the Old Mill.
Clinton County also has a number of historical attractions, including the Historic Murphy Theater, Clinton County History Center, Quaker Heritage Center and Martinsville Road Covered Bridge. Sports teams can also enjoy the fresh air and get their hands dirty at a variety of unique farms, such as Horsefeathers Farm, Bonybrook Farms and KB Alpaca Farm.
In Clinton County, sports planners and teams will find not only some of the best facilities, but also some of the best people. Clinton’s team at the convention and visitors bureau is ready and willing to offer help at every turn. The dedicated staff acts as the conduit between facilities and organizers, helping to link planners up with the people and places that will make their event a success. They organize site visits and offer welcome packets for tournament participants and their guests.
“We customize it all to their needs,” said Debbie Stamper, executive director, CCCVB. “We are very hands on and attentive to make sure people have a good experience.”
In fact, the team likes to use the expression, big fish in a little pond, meaning sports planners, teams and their guests will feel like the center of the attention when they come to town, and won’t get lost in the craziness of a larger city.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Clinton County is within an hour of two major international airports, within 30 minutes of another large airport, and seven miles from a major interstate, meaning it is pretty accessible from most areas of the country either by plane or car. Once in the region, teams will find it is easiest to get around by rental car or van, since most facilities, hotels and attractions are within close proximity.
Clinton County provides sports teams with everything they could possibly need, from affordable hotel accommodations and interesting attractions to elite athletic venues and sprawling natural beauty. Clinton has the passion and commitment to make any sports event memorable, which is why so many organizers keep returning every year; they just want one more dive in the pond.