An article in one of the recent papers caught my attention when it spoke of Visit Lake Norman and its unique role in creating tourism and sporting events in North Mecklenburg. I suppose most residents have little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes efforts that goes into securing major sporting events or business conferences for a community. Most may assume if you have great ball fields, a wonderful lake or outstanding accommodations, event organizers and company planners just line up. Well, it doesn’t quite work like that.

Visit Lake Norman is the reason why our event, the Ryan Newman Foundation annual charity fishing tournament operates out of Blythe Landing in Cornelius instead of Mooresville, which is where the event had been held since 2006. Even before my time becoming executive director of the foundation, Travis Dancy, sports marketing manager for Visit Lake Norman, worked to secure the event for North Mecklenburg through constant contact. He attended our events in Mooresville and spoke with Ryan’s wife, Krissie Newman, about how Visit Lake Norman could help coordinate and grow its participation and exposure.

Travis detailed the support Visit Lake Norman could offer, and we quickly realized that with that support, we had a great opportunity to enhance our event and grow the tournament with more out-of-town visitors who obviously would generate hotel and restaurant revenue in addition to other spending associated with a trip to Lake Norman.

Once we decided to move our 2010 event, Travis was instrumental in giving me guidance on all the necessary permits and logistics for holding a large fishing tournament at Blythe Landing and putting me in touch with appropriate contacts with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation to secure Blythe Landing. Travis handled all our hotel needs from start to finish and secured five host hotels for our event. Visit Lake Norman also provided welcome banners and was a constant resource for me, leading up to and through the event.

We are already working with Visit Lake Norman on this year’s event, which starts Dec. 10, and will incorporate an incentive for out-of-town attendees who stay in our host hotels. Visit Lake Norman is a vital partner, and our event would not be held at Blythe if not for its continued support.

The team at Visit Lake Norman understands what it means to be a great partner and to build solid relationships. More than that, they cared about our event – from our organizers to our anglers and their families. My sincere thanks for all they do!

– Shelly Nunn, Executive Director, Ryan Newman Foundation