Casper to continue to host state tournament championships through 2026

Casper is known for hosting state high school championships, but it is also a critical part of the local economy.
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 6:38 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Casper has become synonymous with crowning high school sports champions. It is the destination for many high school athletes competing to win that state championship.

Casper won its bid to continue to host state championships for volleyball, wrestling, basketball, track, band and cheer for 2022 to 2026.

Visit Casper CEO Brook Kaufman said the state championships are a big tourism draw for the city. “It’s a real opportunity for us to invite people from around the state to enjoy Casper and the amenities we have,” said Kaufman.

The state tournament championships help reel in about $14 million each year for the city, and Kaufman said that is “critical.”

“They would be very difficult for us to replace as a community,” said Kaufman. “That’s why it’s really important that we continue to take good care of the WHSAA, make sure those tournaments go off without a hitch, so that we continue to be in the running for those bids as they come up.”

Casper has hosted each year some form of state championship since 1980.

Tiffany Funk, regional manager for JJM Hotel Group in Casper, said the revenue from visitors for the state tournaments is crucial for them. “February and March, we just know that we’re going to have kids and families in town in the hotel,” said Funk. “We just kind of bank on that.”

Funk said revenues for last March, when the state high school basketball tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were down about 75%, which is the perfect example of how it would affect them without state tournaments in Casper.

Funk said it’s not just about the revenue. She and her staff look forward to each year creating memories for high school athletes and their families.

“You just develop relationships, and that’s what people thrive on is the relationships that they can make and continue to have with people.”

Casper is hosting the state high school wrestling championships this week, and the state high school basketball championships will return next week.

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