This weekend, the nation’s best volleyball clubs will open the two-weekend tournament. This weekend’s invitational will draw 78 teams to Sevierville (more than 1,000 competitors and 5,000 spectators, coaches and officials) and 181 teams (more than 2,500 athletes with 10,000 attendees) will come to the resort the weekend of Jan. 27 to complete the tournament.
In 2011, the first K2 Wilderness at the Smokies Volleyball Tournament had 120 teams and more than 6,000 guests. Because of the success of the inaugural event, K2 expanded this year’s tournament at Wilderness at the Smokies.
Traditionally a slower tourism season, Wilderness at the Smokies has successfully attracted massive crowds to Sevierville and the Smokies Region during the winter months because of the resort’s year-round offerings. This boosts sales in shopping, food and family activities and has a big impact on local revenues.
“We knew that K2 Wilderness at the Smokies Volleyball Tournament would be successful,” said Erin Caylor, a coach for K2 Volleyball Club. “Last year’s event exceeded our expectations in every way. We immediately decided that not only were we coming back in 2012, but that we would expand the tournament into two separate weekends allowing us to grow.
“In spite of the event being two weekends this year, we are completely at capacity for this year’s event and have a lengthy list of teams from around the country on a waiting list.”
K2’s Elite Invitational will begin this weekend and is for power/open level teams ages 13-18. Junior Volleyball Association (JVA), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and USA Volleyball (USAV) clubs will participate.
For players in the Knoxville area and those who will be arriving a few days early, two-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh and husband, Casey Jennings, hosted volleyball clinics this week at K2 Volleyball Club . The clinics were held at K2 Volleyball Club at 2639 Topside Road Louisville, TN 37777.
Attached to the 200,000 square-foot Sevierville Event Center, Wilderness at the Smokies has restaurants, gift shops, convenience stores, game rooms, a 36-hole championship golf course, mini-golf, lounges, a deli, two outdoor waterparks and a five-acre indoor waterpark, it isn’t necessary to leave the 700-acre resort. Coaches, athletes and spectators can even get to/from the event center without ever going outside – making Wilderness at the Smokies one of the Southeast’s only year-round destinations for sporting events.