The Bi-State Classic is an exciting competition for high school wrestlers and their families. While they bring their talent and team spirit to the area, they also bring a boost to our local economy.
In the few days between Christmas and New Years the La Crosse Center fills with thousands of people. Some are wrestlers, some are fans. This event is important to all those athletes and their families, but it's also very important to the local economy.
"You definitely notice a difference. It's a great way to end your year." Aaron Greenwood Assistant Manager at the Settle Inn said. He says the end of the year can be tough for businesses. "This time of year is soft in general and you see a definite perk. We're looking at a sold out weekend here and they're not all that way in December."
A sold out weekend happens each year for the Classic. This year the Bi State Classic is estimated to bring in well over a quarter of a million dollars.
"Whether its food, beverage, lodging, or shopping all of it is money that people come here spend and then go back to their homes." Dave Clements Executive Director of La Crosse Area Visitors Bureau said. He knows this event well and has seen it grow not only in size but also in its value to the community. "Even if you go back to the beginning $100,000 a year, you're talking millions of dollars over the course of this event and it comes back year, after year, after year."
While the tournament comes back year after year, so do the spectators. Greenwood said the Settle Inn see's the same customers every year when these wrestlers come to town. "We see a lot of repeats here at the Settle Inn for sure."
"It's one of those pieces of business that is just there every year having an economic impact." Clements said. "Those are the kinds of things that drive our economy in this area."
Clements also say's these types of events are what helps pay for renovations to the La Crosse Center. He said the space is in need of an expansion and annual events like the Bi State Classic is what drives that forward.