Regardless of the sport, Arkansas should always be considered to host your event
In Arkansas, nothing says outdoors more than cycling. Little Rock is home to Arkansas’s oldest and newest Mountain Biking Trail System. There are action-packed rides in the heart of the city and massive, interwoven trail networks just on the edge of town. Each trail system contains entry-level trails and white-knuckle adventures that are sure to become some of your most memorable rides. No matter which path you find yourself, you’re never more than a downhill away from the next adventure. The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau is working with several organizations, including USA Cycling, on future events.
Also in Little Rock is the past recipient of the USTA’s National Public Facility of the Year, Rebsamen Tennis Center. In addition to hosting adult and junior Arkansas tournaments, the center has welcomed USTA Southern Region tournaments and USTA Men’s Pro Circuit to their 17-lighted courts.
North Little Rock is home to the impressive 1,700-acre Burns Park, Arkansas’s largest municipal park. Host to several regional and state tournaments, Burns Park Tennis Center boasts 24 lighted outdoor courts and six indoor courts. With 17 irrigated fields and one quadrant with tournament lighting, Burns Park Soccer Complex is the premier soccer complex in the South. The stadium field is a great place to watch a tournament champion crowned and with 1,500 parking spaces, no event is too large. In addition to the soccer and tennis centers, Burns Park has two golf courses, a baseball complex, softball complex, a BMX track, archery range, boat ramp to the Arkansas River, two disc golf courses, mountain bike trails and a seasonal amusement park.
Aside from the award-winning Burns Park, North Little Rock includes access to the 17-mile Arkansas River Trail system with North Little Rock Riverfront Park as a perfect starting location for 5Ks, adventure runs, marathons and competitive cycling events like the Big Dam Bridge 100. Other excellent facilities in North Little Rock include North Little Rock High School for football, basketball and volleyball; the 18,000-capacity Simmons Bank Arena; Dickey-Stephens Park, home to AA-baseball team Arkansas Travelers; and Stone Links, a former golf course in the process of being transformed to Arkansas’s newest disc golf course.
Another new addition to the Arkansas Sports scene is Arkansas Athletes Outreach (AAO) in Rogers. AAO was completed in 2020, and the facility is welcoming new tournaments and events. Sporting events at this unique indoor/outdoor facility include basketball, volleyball, wrestling, football, soccer, lacrosse, and more. There are four multi-purpose courts with 20 to 30-foot ceilings. Two courts are 65’ x 100’ and two at 76’ x 100’. Also included are two outdoor grass multi-purpose fields. AAO’s goal is helping athletes become better players and people. A sister facility is in nearby Fayetteville providing additional courts.
Rogers Regional Sports Park has six baseball/softball fields each with designated warm-up areas for home and visitors on each field. Two additional baseball fields and two softball fields are located at Veterans Memorial Park. Five grass multipurpose fields can accommodate soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby, quidditch, and more. Nearby Beaver Lake has a great reputation for fishing tournaments and is a favorite spot for athletes and their families to cool off swimming, kayaking, or scuba diving after some great competition.
Centennial Park at Millsap Mountain in Fayetteville is a premier destination for world caliber-cycling events. With multiple world-class and purpose-built race courses that caters to both cyclo-cross and mountain biking, riders are able to access trail inf rastructure unlike any other in the United States. Located within an area of preserved greenspace connected to Fayetteville’s existing 50 miles of shared-used paved trails and 50 miles of naturalsurface trails, Centennial Park is perfect for any cycling and trail event.
Centennial Park has hosted high-caliber events like the U.S. Pro Cup, a mountain bike race that features Olympic athletes from all over the world. It’s also the home of the 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup and the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championship, making it only the second time in the event’s 72-year history it will be held in the United States. These events will bring riders and spectators from all over the world to enjoy Centennial Park’s amenities and everything that Fayetteville has to offer.
Also in Fayetteville, there’s plenty of soccer, baseball, mountain biking, running and outdoor sport facilities including Kessler Regional Park. The 10 miles of natural service mountain bike or running trails tie into the Razorback Green-way trail system that meander through beautiful Fayetteville. The 620-acre park also includes six lighted soccer and four lighted baseball fields (more being added by 2022). Fayetteville is the host to many lakes such as Lake Fayetteville, Lake Sequoyah, Lake Wilson, and Wedington Lake all provide opportunities for fishing tournaments, duathlons and triathlons. Baum Walker Stadium is home to the University of Arkansas baseball team and with 10,000 seats is a perfect championship venue for a tournament. Staying on campus the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is a championship football venue seating 80,000 and a journey through Razorback football history.
Runway Bike Park, Springdale, is a 2.75-acre state-ofthe- art outdoor bicycle skills training area located at The Jones Center. It’s comprised of three separate areas: Pump Track (one of the largest asphalt tracks in North America), Skills Course, and Bicycle Playground. The bike park was conceived out of an idea to give a training ground for aspiring mountain bikers in the flourishing Oz Trails network of mountain bike trails in Northwest Arkansas. Runway Bike Park was made possible through a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. In 2018 when the Pump Track hosted the Red Bull UCI Pump Track World Championship. A qualifier for the world championships was held there in June 2021. An All-Cross event will be held in November 2021.
Springdale’s C.L. “Charlie” and Willie George Park features a lighted football field three lighted tennis courts, four artificial turf baseball fields and six soccer fields.
Bentonville is home to the Slaughter Pen Trail System. More than 40-miles flow through Slaughter Pen with easy trail connection being provided to Lake Bella Vista, or the Blowing Springs mountain bike trails system. Trails throughout the system range in difficulty from beginner to expert.
Bentonville is certainly capable of hosting simultaneous outdoor events in multiple sports. Memorial Park has a tennis center with 12 lighted courts, five-lighted baseball and four lighted softball fields. The soccer complex includes seven lighted fields and two multi-purpose fields. There are four lighted sand volleyball courts. The aquatic center features an Olympic size pool and diving pool. Bentonville Tiger and West Athletic Complexes are championship caliber facilities with college-like stadiums seating more than 6,000 and indoor practice facilities.
In Texarkana, Ed Morrell Memorial Baseball Park is all about baseball with seven lighted baseball fields and two concession stands. Nearby Ermer Dansby Poindexter Sports Complex has an outstanding playing surface, new lights, 200-foot tournament fences, concession and picnic areas welcoming players to five softball fields.
When you come to Conway for sports, expect top notch facilities. From the Conway Tennis Center which opened in 2016 with eight lit courts, to the five-field City of Colleges Softball Park, Conway is a destination for sports of all types. Conway Station Park is a premier, 8-field baseball facility that hosts more baseball tournaments each year than any other single facility in the state. Centennial Soccer Complex is a 12-field facility with concessions and restrooms available on site. Basketball and volleyball are also popular at the Don Owen Sports Center and McGee Center indoor facilities.
There’s plenty to fill your time between games as well. Whether you’re into shopping, cycling, hiking or just grabbing a good bite to eat, you will find whatever it is you’re looking for in Conway.
Located near the Arkansas River and Lake Dardanelle, Russellville is all about outdoor sports. Russellville Soccer Complex has multiple lighted fields, while Lake Dardanelle State Park is ideal for fishing tournaments. Pleasant View Park, Shiloh Park and M J Hickey Park combine for six softball fields, seven baseball fields with lighted pavilions and picnic areas.
Softball says it all at Jonesboro’s Southside Softball Complex. The complex has 10 lighted softball fields, six batting cages and two large concession stands. The complex is host to Arkansas’s oldest youth tournament, the Mountain Dew Grand Slam Classic. Another Jonesboro favorite is the Joe Mack Campbell Sports Complex. Batting cages are part of the 14 baseball fields, 10 with turf infields and grass outfields and are ideal from 7U to 14U. Soccer features six micro fields adaptable for 6U to high school. Craighead Forest Park will keep athletes busy with basketball, hiking, disc golf, softball, volleyball, mountain biking and fishing. The park is a favorite of RV travelers journeying to Jonesboro for competition.
Pine Bluff’s Taylor Field Baseball Stadium is a classic. Constructed in 1939 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it seats 2,400 with 1,800 behind home place. Perfect for serious tournament competition, it measures 315’ down the lines, 360’ dead center and 390’ to a tricky deep corner of centerfield.
Disc golf rights holders Fort Smith is calling you to the largest disc golf course in the area at Ben Geren Regional Park. The park also includes 12 soccer fields, 10 softball fields, six lighted tennis courts and three sand volleyball courts. More than 7.4-miles of paved biking trails and 14.10-miles of rough mountain terrain attract biking enthusiasts. Riverfront Skate & Bike Park features pump tracks, a 12’ vertical wall, a Plexiglas wall, and cool art used as a skating apparatus. The park has a bridge that connects to the Greg Smith River trail.
Only at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs will you find horse racing and track & field. The track with 100+ years of horse racing tradition hosts The Arkansas Derby during the racing season. Rights holders take notice the track’s infield has proven a perfect venue for the Arkansas High School Cross Country Championships. Nearby Majestic Park Baseball Complex was designed for youth baseball and softball tournaments. Three fields are 225” to center, lighted and fenced with artificial turf infields and outfields and stationary mounds. Two additional fields 200’ and 400’ to center lighted and fenced. Dugouts are covered.
When the Games Go Indoors Arkansas Has You Covered
Staying in Hot Springs, the Bank OZK Arena is perfect for basketball, cheer, volleyball, pickleball and concerts and is no stranger to big time competition. The arena has hosted the Sunbelt College Basketball Championships, FLW Fishing Tournament and state championships in basketball, cheer and GAC Volleyball and the U.S. Indoor Pickleball Championship. Connected to the Hot Springs Convention Center and hotels the arena has convenient accommodations for athletes and attendees.
Fort Smith Convention Center is well suited to host volleyball, dance and gymnastic events. The 116,000-square-foot center is flexible with the ability to tailor to multiple event’s special needs. More than 3,400 hotel rooms, dining options and shopping are within walking distance to the center.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Jack Stephens Center is a multi-purpose facility home to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and women’s volleyball. The center has hosted the state’s High School Wrestling Tournament, regional cheer and dance competitions and the U.S. Baton Twirling Championships.
The Jones Center in Springdale houses a year-round ice arena, junior –Olympic sized lap pool, basketball court and indoor track. A wonderful venue for skating competitions, there’s a café for grabbing a bite on campus. Springdale Recreation Center is an ideal facility for hosting basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer for any age. The newly remodeled center features six hardwood courts and two indoor soccer fields.
Pine Bluff Convention Center hosts basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and boxing events in its 23,000-square-foot arena. With NCAA-approved lighting and impressive audio-visual technology the center is home of the King Cotton Holiday Classic basketball tournament, a premier national-level high school basketball tournament. Pine Bluffs Aquatic Center is a first-class facility with an eight-lane 25-yard short course competition pool and a therapy pool. The center accommodates 1,600 people with a state-of-the-art timing scoreboard.
Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center is a premier location for regional events in the growing eSports competition segment.
Indoors, or outdoors you’ll find the perfect facility for just about every competitive event. Get started with a call to Shelbey Morris, Sales Consultant/Division of Arkansas Tourism 501-682-1081, or email Shelbey.Morris@arkansas.gov
By David Bodle