This story was updated at 9 a.m. Tuesday with comments from local skating supporters.
WENATCHEE — Wenatchee has glided into the spotlight with the likes of Atlanta, Salt Lake City, St. Paul, Minn., and other popular centers of figure skating.
The sport’s national governing body announced Friday that Wenatchee will host the 2015 Pacific Northwest regional championships, one of nine venues nationwide hosting competitions to find the best skaters in the country.
“This is an absolute blockbuster event for the Wenatchee Valley,” said Matt Kearny, director of the Wenatchee Valley Sports Council. “The exposure from an event of this magnitude will pay dividends for years to come.”
U.S. Figure Skating announced the Wenatchee event for Oct. 4-7, 2014, at Town Toyota Center.
About 270 skaters from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska are expected to compete. Qualifiers will advance to sectional championships Nov. 19-23, 2014, with winners headed to the national championships Jan. 18-25, 2015, in Greensboro, N.C.
Official host here for the four-day regional championships is the Wenatchee Figure Skating Club.
The winning bid was a community effort that included the Sports Council, the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, area mayors and local skating club members.
Wenatchee’s bid was also endorsed by the Pacific Northwest Interclub Association, a prominent figure skating group in the region.
“Everything came together just perfectly,” said David Coe, Wenatchee Figure Skating Club Board member and head of the local committee to host the championships. “We’ve got a great skating venue, we’ve got hotels on board, we’ve got widespread backing for the event — this’ll be a real shot in the arm for our area and local club.”
In 2008, the local figure skating club posted a bid for the regional championships after the opening of Town Toyota Center. But that went nowhere, said Coe. “We didn’t have the experience or expertise to put in a winning bid.”
Last year, the regional figure skating championships were hosted by Eugene, Ore., and this year by Tacoma. “We’re up next year,” Coe said.
“And now that we’ve got our foot in the door, now that people will see that Wenatchee’s a great skating venue — well, maybe this is a taste of more good things to come.”
Mike Irwin: 665-1179