By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
It is once again time for cheerleaders and dancers from across the nation to descend upon Daytona Beach.
The National Cheerleading Association (NCA) and National Dance Alliance (NDA) will host their Collegiate Championships in Daytona Beach on April 10-14.
The competition will take place at the Ocean Center, Peabody Auditorium and Bandshell.
"Daytona Beach has a history of being a college destination, but the venues there are idea for this event," said Bill Boggs, senior vice president of Varsity Brands. "We love the Bandshell, which is unique, and the fact that the Ocean Center and Peabody is across the street along with the hotels and shops nearby makes it a great place for such a competition."
Memphis, Tenn.-based Varsity Brands is the parent company of NCA, which acts as the governing body for cheerleading, as well as the NDA, which has the same role in dancing as NCA has in cheerleading.
Competing schools come from all levels of colleges, including National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I, Division II and Division III; National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics; and junior colleges.
Daytona has become the premier destination for cheerleading and dance since the NCA and NDA first held the collegiate championships here in 1996.
"The event has grown every year. We will have 50 more cheerleading teams competing this year than last year. The event has been a tremendous success," Mr. Boggs said. "Our customers love coming to Daytona. I think the city and hotel situation has improved there over the years, which make it better for us and our customers. It occurs during a great time of the year when the weather is warm and sunny which makes it a premier location for such an event."
Those responsible for making the event a success locally, the Ocean Center and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, also are pleased with the event.
"Many years ago our sales team and the Ocean Center bid on the event and was able to win it and it has been here every since. The Ocean Center does a great job of setting up and producing the event as well," said Jeff Hentz, president of the Daytona Beach CVB.
The event will bring between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors, 300 teams and an economic impact of at least $17 million dollars.
"It's a five day and four night event. A lot of teams will stay a day later and enjoy the area, so I think it has a significant economic impact on the city of Daytona Beach," said Boggs.
"The organizers of the event have done a great job of promoting, putting together and producing the event," Mr. Hentz said. "When people here about it, its like a hearing about a good tournament you want go out and be a part of it. What better place than Daytona Beach to have an event."
The Cheer and Dance championships provide a unique atmosphere and a level of competition like no other.
"You won't find a more exciting atmosphere anywhere. It is very unique (whether) if you are a participant, coach, event coordinator, spectator or whatever," Mr. Boggs said. "These teams are very athletic and competitive. They represent their schools, which brings spirit to the competition. The sportsmanship is great and unique with all teams pulling for each other."
The NCA and NDA will also hold its International Classic on April 20 in Daytona Beach with competition taking place at the Ocean Center and Bandshell.
"I don't have the information on that single event, but we run other events in Daytona Beach as well. We also do the National high school championships there," Mr. Boggs said. "All of our events in Daytona have been very successful which started with our college event."