Sports Wins Add Up for Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau


(Alton, IL – Sept. 15, 2023) The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau is racking up wins in the sports tourism market with the addition of new tournaments, the creation of a sports advisory council and a commitment to host the NCBA World Series for another two years.

“Over the last two years, the Bureau has worked diligently to lay the groundwork to be a prime location for new and exciting sporting events,” said Cory Jobe, President and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “We are starting to reap the benefits of that work with new tournaments and the creation of a sports advisory council which will help guide our sports marketing efforts.”

This weekend marks the first-ever Fishers of Men Tournament which will take place Sept. Friday and Saturday in Grafton. The championship bass tournament will take place at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

“We, at Fishers of Men are very excited about bringing one of our Championship bass Tournaments to the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and the town of Grafton, IL. We look forward to working with the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau to make this an enjoyable event for the competitors as well as a financially beneficial event for the community,” said Bobby Eads, Senior Vice President of the Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail.

The Bureau has also secured the MudGirl Run, an obstacle race dedicated to women, with a three year contract. The event will take place the weekend of July 20, 2024 at the Tri-City Speedway. The Bureau partners with the speedway and SWIC to bring this highly-sought after event to the region. It is anticipated to bring in over $1.4 million in economic impact in the first year and over 10,000 participants.

In addition, the National Collegiate Baseball Association has inked a deal to bring the DI and DII World Series championship tournaments back to Alton’s Lloyd Hopkins Field in 2024. The DII tournament will return in 2025 and 2026 as well.

A new Sports Advisory Council has been created to help guide sports tourism efforts in the region. The council is comprised of 13 area park and rec officials, Madison County administrators, economic development representatives, regional sports attractions and venues. Members include: John Hopkins, Dave Tanzyus, Rober Werden, Michael Haynes, James Arnold, David Knowles, Matt McSparin, Alex Nagy, Nate Tingley, Kimberly Caughran, Tammy Gundaker, Kim Schaub, Dallas Martz and Damien Jones.


(The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau is a certified Destination Marketing Organization serving Madison, Jersey, Calhoun, Macoupin, Montgomery and Greene counties and East St. Louis in St. Clair County. The bureau is dedicated to educating visitors about the region by providing information regarding the area’s history, unique landmarks, recreational opportunities, leisure attractions, special events and scenic marvels.)