Tucked into Kansas’ northwest corner, Topeka is conveniently located for groups that hail from Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. The city’s draw isn’t just its location, however, but also its blend of excellent facilities and friendly people.
Topeka has hosted its share of serious competitions, including drag racing’s NHRA Kansas Nationals, the PRCA Rodeo, Governor’s Cup Soccer Tournament, Kansas Classic 3-day women’s collegiate swimming competition and 2013 Tough Mudder endurance event. It’s also the future home of the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championship, 2014 NJCAA Half Marathon Championship and US Finals Cheer and Dance competition for 2014.
Perhaps the best way to sum up this city’s attitude towards sports is exemplified in the Sunflower State Games, which allows participants of all skill levels to compete in 45 different sports, from cricket to BMX biking.
Five venues are routinely transformed from concrete shells into just about anything. The Expocentre hosts ice skating, hockey, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, rodeo and more. It is home to the Topeka RoadRunners NAHL hockey team and Kansas Koyotes APFL football team and was the host of the 2011 Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament.
Hummer Sports Park
The emphasis is on field sports of all types. This state-of-the-art facility is home to a 6,000-seat AstroPlay turf football stadium and 2,000-seat AstroPlay soccer stadium, plus two baseball and two softball fields with covered dugouts, fenced bullpens and batting cages. Also an eight-lane track and 1,000-seat natatorium with a 50-meter Olympic-size pool, warm-up and warm-down pool, swimmer crash area and meeting space.
Sunflower Soccer Complex
Boasting the “best grass in Northeast Kansas,” the Sunflower Soccer Complex each spring and fall hosts the Governor’s Cup Soccer Invitational on its 11 full-size fields. And not only the grass is growing: there are plans to upgrade the 108-acre facility to include 16 full-size soccer fields, spacious paved parking and a permanent multipurpose building.
Lake Shawnee and Bettis Family Sports Complex
The recently completed Bettis complex at Lake Shawnee features six synthetic turf fields and a multi-purpose field, all lit for nighttime games. Rueger Park is a four-diamond softball complex with 300-foot fences, concession stands, restrooms and a second-floor observation deck. Lake Shawnee offers space for rowing, sailing, biking, trail walking, tennis and disc golf. There’s also the 18-hole Lake Shawnee Golf Course.
Attractions and Accommodations
As Kansas’ capital city, Topeka offers guests a mixture of interesting activities and lively events. Tour the Kansas State Capitol or experience civil rights history at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. Explore Old Prairie Town, an authentic pioneer village with a cabin, mansion, general store and working soda fountain. The Kansas Museum of History has displays on pioneer, African-American and Native American heritage. Gage Park offers a zoo, conservatory, gardens and recreational facilities like the Blaisdell Family Aquatic Center. Finding the right accommodations for your group in the Topeka area shouldn’t present too much of an issue; you can pick from every type of lodging, from luxe hotels to budget-priced chains. There are RV parks and campgrounds available as well.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Kansas City is 60 miles from Topeka, Omaha 160 miles, Wichita 140 miles, Des Moines 250 miles, Oklahoma City 300 miles. Topeka is convenient to two expressways, I-70 and I-335. Kansas City International Airport, the area’s main air travel hub, is only an hour to the east and served by Air Canada, Delta, American, Frontier, SeaPort Airlines, AirTran, United, Southwest and US Airways. Another choice, Manhattan Regional Airport, offers American Eagle flights to and from Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth. Amtrak also serves Topeka.
Visit Topeka and the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Council are a one-stop shop for bid proposals, site inspections, centralized housing and more. Request the free Sports Facilities Guide.
Topeka comes close to being in the center of the United States. It has the size of a city, but the feel of a community, and it’s a great place to plan a sporting event. Whether you have a group that’s ready to play ball or play golf – or just about anything else – consider centrally-located Topeka as your destination.