Bi-State wrestling gives boost to local economy

Hundreds of wreslters, thousands of family members come to La Crosse

Hundreds of wrestlers take to the mat at the La Crosse Center, and that means big business for the city.

The Bi-State wrestling tournament attracts hundreds of high school athletes ever year, and thousands of family and friends. And while some of the best wrestlers in the area battle it out on the mat, some of the biggest winners are local businesses.

“Is the soup good?” asked Lisa White as she watched her husband eat his soup at Dublin Square.

A stop at the local bar and restaurant must for the White family. “I love this place, so I’m like, ‘Oh, is there going to be a break where we can come out and eat,'” said White.

The White’s traveled from Cuba City for the Bi-State tourny and like hundreds of other families they are filling up hotels and restaurants.

“We’ve seen a pretty good influx of people here for lunch for sure today,” said owner Matt Boshcka.

Boshcka appreciates the efforts of the La Crosse Center and the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in bringing people into the city. “They do tremendous amount for the local economy and we’re very appreciative that they continue to go out there and they are very ambitious with booking new events,” said Boshcka.

“I would say it’s over $300,000,” said LACVB President Dave Clements when asked how much money the tournament brings into the city.

Clements says the money that flows into the city’s restaurants, hotels and shops comes at a time when things are otherwise pretty quiet. “This time of year hotels have not a lot going on,” said Clements, “other than this event hotels are pretty quiet between Christmas and New Years.”

But the impact stretches far past the two-day tournament. The event is a chance to showcase the city, and bring people back. “You’ve got high school freshman, sophomore, juniors wrestling, their families maybe have never been here, so they come here, see the beauty of the area and decide hey we need to go back there in the Summer when we’ve got more time, when the weather is nicer,” said Clements.

“A couple of the moms at the tournament, we were talking that we should come here in the Summer because all of the cute shops and walk along the river so we’re already talking about picking a date and traveling back up here,” said Lisa White.

The two-day tournament started at 9:30 Monday morning at the La Crosse Center, and will see 54 teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota compete in a single bracket.

For more information on the Bi-State Classic, you can visit their website.