Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Alabama Soccer Association’s State Cup Tournaments Return to Decatur in May

Decatur, Ala. (April 21, 2015) – Hundreds of youth soccer players from across the state of Alabama will make their way to Decatur the first two weekends in May for the Alabama Soccer Association (ASA) Division I and Division II State Cup tournaments. The Division I State Cup First Round (U13-U14) and Division II State Cup Preliminaries (U10-U13) will take place May 2-3, 2015, with the Division I State Cup Final Four (U13-U14) and Division II State Cup Final Four (U13 only) following May 9-10. All tournaments will take place at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex.

The Division I tournament is a top level qualifying event with winners advancing to regional tournaments where an invitation to the US Youth Soccer National Championships – the crown jewel of competitive youth soccer - is on the line. The Division II tournament decides which teams are Division II state champions and will represent Alabama in the USYSA Region III President’s Cup, which will take place in June 2015 in Lafayette, La.  

ASA is the governing body for all soccer clubs in Alabama who qualify to participate in these events. For more information on the State Cup tournaments, visit the ASA’s website at www.alsoccer.org.

Decatur has played host to the ASA’s youth soccer tournaments since 2007, except in 2011 when the city of Decatur withdrew from hosting because of the devastation and hotel demand from the April tornado outbreak. Previous tournaments have produced an economic impact of over $220K for the city of Decatur, bringing in athletes and their families who stayed in local hotels, made purchases in gas stations and convenience stores, and dined in restaurants over the course of two weekends.

The Jack Allen Recreation Complex contains 10 international size lighted fields with laser-graded certified sports turf and a computerized irrigation system. With the additional fields located in Point Mallard Park, Decatur has quickly become known nationally as a top rated soccer tournament location. For more information on the Jack Allen Recreation Complex, visit www.decatursports.com or www.decaturmorgansports.com.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jimmy Johns Tennis Center to Host ACCC and AHSAA State Championships

Decatur, Ala. (April 9, 2015) – This month, hundreds of high school and collegiate tennis players will make their way to the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center located in the heart of Point Mallard Park for three separate tournaments. The Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Region XXII tennis state championship will take to the courts the this weekend, April 10-11, with the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) 1A-2A-3A tennis state championship following on April 20-21.

Three men’s teams and three women’s teams are expected to compete in the ACCC competition April 10-11 where an invitation to Nationals is on the line. This will be the fifth appearance for the ACCC Tennis State Championship in Decatur. The Jimmy Johns Tennis Center began hosting the prestigious event in 2011. Faulkner State, Marion Military Institute, and Snead State will have women’s teams competing. Men’s teams looking to capture the title will be from Faulkner State, Gadsden State, and Marion Military Institute. On Friday, April 10, a coaches’ meeting is set for 2 p.m. with the first round of doubles and singles starting immediately after the meeting. Play resumes at approximately 10 a.m. the next morning. For more information on ACCC, visit its website at www.acccathletics.com. 

The Jimmy Johns Tennis Center will host the AHSAA Tennis State Class 1A-2A-3A Tournament April 20-21, making it the sixth appearance for an AHSAA state championship in Decatur. Approximately 20 teams will take part in the high school competition, which gets underway on Monday morning, April 20 with matches held until sunset. For more information, visit www.ahsaa.com. Combined, these tournaments should produce an economic impact of over $75K for the city of Decatur and Morgan County.

In addition, Austin High School hosted a tennis tournament the first weekend, April 3-4, 2015. Twenty-nine teams representing 14 schools participated in the Austin High School tennis tournament held at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center April 3-4, 2015. Austin’s Cade Pressnell won the boys No. 1 singles final and Anna Quinn Weaver from Decatur High School won the No. 2 singles final. Decatur’s Anna Quinn Weaver and Ivey Katherine Weaver won the No. 1 doubles final.  More results are as follows:
1st – Huntsville
2nd – James Clemens
3rd – Auburn A
4th – Florence, Cookville
6th – Hewitt-Trussville, Russellville
8th- Austin, Cullman, Northridge
11th – Hillcrest
12th – Westpoint, Auburn B
14th – Decatur, Hartselle

1st – Huntsville
2nd – Hillcrest
3rd – Deshler
4th – Decatur
5th- Florence, Northridge
7th – Cullman
8th – Hartselle
9th – Decatur Heritage
10th – Hewitt Trussville, Cookville
12th – James Clemens, Westpoint
14th - Austin
Located adjacent to the Point Mallard Waterpark, the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center contains four clay and fourteen hard courts including two indoor courts. The venue also includes meeting space and a pro shop. For more information on the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center, visit www.decatursports.com or www.decaturmorgansports.com. 

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County.  For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit its website at www.decaturcvb.org and click on the “Things to Do” link. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

44th Annual Racking Horse Spring Celebration Set for April 22-25

Decatur, Ala. -- The second largest Racking Horse Show in the United States returns to Decatur April 22-25, 2015, at the Morgan County Celebration Arena. Featuring different classes and divisions of Racking Horses, the Spring Celebration is expected to attract entries from over 25 states competing for honors, as well as over $30,000 in prize money.

With 66 classes for children, adults, amateurs, and professionals, the competition begins each night at 6 p.m. with the Grand Champion to be announced on Saturday evening, April 25. On Friday, children are invited to participate in the “Stick Horse” class at 6 p.m. This event allows children to bring their own stick horse for friendly competition in the arena and every participant receives a ribbon.

General admission Wednesday through Friday is $6 per person, Saturday is $10 per person, and free for children 6 years old and under. Parking is $5 per vehicle. The Morgan County Celebration Arena located at 67 Horse Center Road (off Highway 67 East) in Decatur.

For additional information on the racking horse breed and a current show schedule, contact the RHBAA at 256.353.7225 or visit its website at www.rackinghorse.com.

About the Racking Horse Breeders Association of America (RHBAA)
The purpose of RHBAA is to collect, record and preserve the pedigrees of Racking Horses, to publish a register or studbook, and other such matters pertaining to the breeding, exhibiting and sales of Racking Horses. With the formation of RHBAA in 1971, the Racking Horse has grown in popularity. Today, there are over 80,000 racking horses registered with the RHBAA, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Decatur, Alabama. The Alabama Legislature proclaimed the racking horse as the “Official State Horse for the State of Alabama” on October 5, 1975.

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County.  For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit its website at www.decaturcvb.org and click on the “Things to Do” link.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food, Fun, and More at Downtown Decatur’s 3rd Friday April 17!

Food, Fun, and More at Downtown Decatur’s 3rd Friday April 17

Decatur, Ala. (April 14, 2015) – Downtown Decatur will host its 3rd Friday this week, April 17, filling the historic downtown area with fun, food, art, and more. As attendees enjoy the downtown ambiance, a variety of special planned activities are planned including one night only sales, trunk shows, live music, an art exhibition, antiques, and more.

The festivities get underway at 5 p.m. and festivalgoers are invited to spend the evening looking at a wide variety of antique cars along 2nd Avenue while enjoying some of the area’s best musicians throughout the downtown area and inside many restaurants. Performers include Gray Cauthen on Moulton Street by Downtown Dawgs, Ross Kirk on Second Avenue by the Princess Theatre, The Lumani Dance Theatre on the corner of Second Avenue and Johnston Street by Waggin Tails, The Kozbies on Second Avenue by The Antique Basket, Chuck Puckett in the 800 block of Bank Street, Cheryl Llewellyn in the 700 block of Bank Street, and the Morgan County Dulcimer Association by the Old State Bank.

For children, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center will have activities and art on Bank Street, along with a demonstration by Webster’s Karate Studio, and on the Bank Street Green, CASA of North Alabama will host children’s local favorite band, Tangerine Tambourine. A caricature artist and face painting will also provide entertainment during the evening.

From 6 to 8 p.m., the 2015 Spring Senior Art Exhibition will be on display at the Alabama Center for the Arts. Bank Street will also be filled with a variety of motorcycles provided by the North Alabama Vintage Motorcycle Club and antique vendors and non-profit organizations will be featured in the 500 block where festivalgoers can drop by and learn more about what is offered in Decatur and Morgan County.

Shopping in downtown Decatur is plentiful during the 3rd Friday celebration, as many of the merchants remain open late. Craft vendors selling handmade items will fill Casa Grande Park and Jones Park on 2nd Avenue and a produce and farmers market can be found on Bank Street. Zelivi will offer 30% off of any purchase and local pepper jelly maker JalaJala will be at The Cupboard with free samples. The Paper Chase is celebrating its 8th birthday and will serve refreshments and have a “Scarlet & Gold” Trunkshow. Inner Peace Massage will host a Chloe + Isabel Pop-Up Shop with refreshments, kids crafts and door prizes. Simp McGhee’s will celebrate its 29th anniversary with entertainment provided by Lori Neville and Justin Miller. Downtown Dawgs will have free kids nachos with the purchase of a Combo Meal.

Participating streets in 3rd Fridays include 2nd Avenue, Bank, Market, Moulton, Grant, and Johnston streets. MCATS will provide transportation between Bank Street and Second Avenue for $1 per person, per ride. Pickup locations are at the Alabama Center for the Arts parking lot on Second Avenue and beside Tammy Eddy Antiques and Interiors on Bank Street.

Third Friday’s was first organized in 2009 by merchants as a way to attract locals and visitors to the downtown area. The Downtown Merchants Association wishes to thank the City of Decatur Parks and Recreation Department for the tremendous support they provide to the event as an in-kind sponsor. Presenting sponsor is Budweiser. Additional sponsors include Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Bank Independent, Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Morgan County Commission, Nucor Steel, 3M, Renasant Bank, Stovall-Marks Insurance, Beautiful Edge-A Paul Mitchell Focus Salon, and King Insurance Agency.

For more information, call Ashley Ashwander at 256.355.8993 or visit 3rd Friday’s Facebook page for the latest information.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Annual International Soccer Tournament Held in Decatur Changes to Split Weekend Tournament and Adds College Exhibition and Showcase Approximately 230 youth soccer teams to participate in fourth annual Open Cup set for April 10-12 and April 17-19, 2015.

Decatur, Ala. (April 6, 2015) – The Open Cup, an Alabama Youth Soccer Association and United States Youth Soccer Association sanctioned tournament, is set to return to Decatur the second and third weekends this month and has added a college exhibition and showcase to its program. The split weekend tournament is expected to draw in 230 teams from across the United States as well as internationally for a total of six days of matches at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex. Girls will play April 10-12, 2015, with the boys following April 17-19.   

According to Event Organizer Scott Spencer, approximately 230 teams from over 14 states as well as international teams from El Salvador, Bermuda, and Mexico are expected for the fourth annual tournament. The tournament is expected to generate more than 3,000 hotel room nights and nearly $1.7 million in direct spending in Decatur and surrounding areas. Matches will be held at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex, one of the South’s premier soccer complexes boasting 11 fields and two championship fields with seating for up to 3,000 spectators, with consolation games on Sunday at the Spirit of America fields in Point Mallard Park.

The Open Cup offers USYSA affiliated Premier, Challenge, Classic, and Academy level U9-U19 girls’ and boys’ competitive soccer opportunities. There will be a minimum of two divisions per age division/gender – an elite level of play and 1-2 competitive divisions tiered lower. Trophies will be awarded to the champion and runner-up team in each age division.

New for 2015, the Open Cup has added a Girls College Exhibition and Showcase event where top Division 1 programs will meet in Decatur for a matchup along with recruiting opportunities for U15-U19 age groups. Set for Saturday, April 11, six universities will compete in the event while also leading the list of recruiting programs for club teams at the Open Cup. College games will be coordinated within the Open Cup schedule so participating girls have the opportunity to watch the matches while also maximizing the schedule to allow college coaches time to scout and recruit the participating teams in the older age groups.

College Exhibition and Showcase Schedule                 April 11, 2015
Field 1 (Stadium)
Field 2
Field 3
Alabama vs Evansville
Samford v Memphis
MTSU vs South Alabama
Alabama vs MTSU
Samford vs South Alabama
Evansville vs Memphis
Alabama vs Samford
MTSU vs Evansville
Memphis vs South Alabama
(top 2 teams with points)

The boys’ weekend also brings excitement to Decatur April 17th-19th. A 5-time champion of the Central American Academy Championship, The Menedy Cup, FESA of El Salvador is arguably the best academy in Central America to compete in the U19 age group and is registered for the 2015 Open Cup. One of the top rated pro club academies, the Monterey Rayados is retuning to the Open Cup after competing in 2012 and 2013. The 3-time CONCACAF champions are the co-host of the Seaworld Copa Rayados Internacional held in San Antonio during Thanksgiving week and are offering a special promotion. Any team that beats the 2001 or 2000 Monterrey Rayados Academy team at the Open Cup will be offered free entry in to the Seaworld Copa Rayados Internacional and free lodging during the tournament.

Parking passes for the entire weekend are $10 per vehicle. For complete registration information or more information on the tournament, visit www.premiersoccerservices.com.    

For more information on the Jack Allen Recreation Complex, visit www.decatursports.com or www.decaturmorgansports.com.