Round Rock, Texas - The Bases are Covered Deep in the Heart of Texas
28 Feb, 2010By: Jennifer Alten
It's sports all year long in Round Rock, Texas. Sports fans and athletes alike refer to this welcoming community as "The Sports Capital of Texas" for good reason. World-class facilities. Great weather. Fun attractions. Comfortable hotels. Unique dining. Experience an unwavering commitment to athletics deep in the heart of Texas. Did you know that Round Rock is located within a three hour drive of 90 percent of the state's population? Getting your game on has never been easier.
The city's calendar of events quickly fills up every year with a variety of tournaments and exhibitions. You'll find baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, football, tennis and lacrosse, along with some less common ones like Ultimate Frisbee, Chinese martial arts, women's full-contact football, disc golf and an inline skating marathon.
"We're proud to have become the ultimate host city for sports," said Nancy Yawn, Director of the Round Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We definitely stand behind our title 'The Sports Capital of Texas'."
It's no surprise that athletes from the state of Texas and from around the nation are bringing their game to Round Rock.
The Right Facilities for Virtually Every Sporting Event
This city of more than 100,000 does more than talk sports - it has invested seriously in the infrastructure needed to support them. Bolstered by an economic base that includes the headquarters of Dell Computer, Round Rock has invested millions in its sports facilities including $18.2 million dollars in the most recent renovations at Old Settlers Park. Round Rock facilities include:
Old Settlers Park
This well-known, 570-acre sports complex is the crown jewel of Round Rock. Included in the park are Champion Fields with 20 baseball fields and five softball fields, two fully-lit football fields, seven soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, 12 lit tennis courts and pro shop, cross-country courses, a professionally-designed disc golf course and multi purpose courts. For post-game fun, Old Settlers Park boasts of the Rock'n River Family Aquatic Center, a new 40,000 square foot facility complete with lazy river, crazy slides and water playground, along with an 18 acre lake with two pavilions, playgrounds and more.
"The facilities are so great that everyone wants to come here, said Super Series Tournament Director Rick Stevens. "If there's a choice between playing at Old Settlers or a competing tournament elsewhere, people choose Round Rock. This, in turn, fuels the quality of tournaments held there because people know they're going to play against the best opponents in the best series. Because of this, the area has really taken off," he said.
But there's more to Round Rock than Old Settlers Park.
Home of the Round Rock Express baseball franchise, a Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, the Dell Diamond features numerous amenities for fan comfort and enjoyment. The stadium, named after Dell Inc., was designed to give attendees amazing close-up views of the action. In addition to Round Rock Express games, the stadium hosts amateur sporting events like the Super Series National Championship and World series.
RRISD Athletic Complex
Even high school sporting facilities get into the act in Round Rock. This impressive complex covers 46 acres and has special features, including the AstroPlay synthetic turf that has a uniform, shock-reducing thin elastic layer beneath the playing surface, and a state of the art JumboTron. With a capacity of more than 11,000, the RRISD Athletic Complex hosted the Independent Women's Football League Full Contact World Championship, the UIL State Soccer Championship, and the Monterrey, Mexico - Round Rock, Texas Super Bowl.
The Sports-crazy Town Features a Huge Array of Sporting Events
From regional and national sporting events to mainstream and quirky, Round Rock is the destination for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Part of that is due to the mild climate. With its temperate weather, Round Rock is able to host outdoor events all year around. The rest is due to its pervasive sports culture, top-notch facilities and the hospitality that flows from Round Rock locals, such as those at the Sports Capital of Texas Ambassadors, hotels and restaurants. Just take a listen at the world famous Round Rock Donuts. In addition to the usual small talk, the conversation is quick to turn to local sports.
With so many diverse sporting events going on around the calendar, here is just a small sampling of what athletes will find in Round Rock:
Super Series Baseball of America
Almost every month for the past three years, an average of 100 teams with players ages 8 to 18 come to Round Rock's Old Settlers Park for Super Series Baseball. Each July, Round Rock also hosts the Super Series National Championship and World Series, drawing more than 1,100 young athletes from around the country.
"We're delighted to have the facilities and amenities to host 100 teams at 12 players per team coming to our city each and every month, not to mention the coaches, parents and other spectators," said Yawn.
Texas Road Rash
Held at Old Settlers Park, this annual inline skating marathon and half marathon draws skaters of all ages from all over North America and has begun to draw teams from as far away as Australia. The Texas Road Rash began in 2004, and is ranked as the 4th best marathon in the nation by marathonskating.com.
"What's so fun about this event is that you'll see grandkids and grandparents skating together. It's truly an all-age event," said Yawn.
Old Settlers Park has been the site of the 3v3 Live Soccer Winter Nationals tournament and Kick It's regional tournaments for years. These small-sided soccer events each draw more than 700 players from around the United States.
Spikefest Volleyball Tour
This grass volleyball tournament is held at the manicured fields at Old Settlers Park. The competing teams play in divisions divided by age and skill level, from recreational fun to intense volleyball game play.
Tournament Director Mike Kruizinga said, "We are excited to have held our second year in Round Rock, and we are looking to grow this event on an annual basis."
Z Flag Football Tour
Run by K1 Events, which also puts on Spikefest, Z Flag Football is the largest 4-on-4 flag football amateur outdoor event series in the U.S. The tournament includes men's, women's and co-ed teams and is held at Old Settlers Park.
An Easy Place to Visit, Stay and Hold Events
For athletes, spectators and event planners, Round Rock is a sports lover's dream. Located right off Interstate 35 and only 20 minutes from Austin's Bergstrom International Airport, the city is easy to get to, for both drivers and flyers.
What's more, local officials and residents are renowned for their help and welcoming attitude.
Susan Kruizinga, Vice President of K1 International, which manages events such as the Spikefest Volleyball Tour and the Z Flag Football Tour, noted "The Round Rock CVB paves the way to secure the venue and date for the event which is often difficult as contacts consistently change at venues and many cities' discourage the use of their facilities for tournaments."
She said the Round Rock CVB also does the background work to ensure that there are no competing events that week and that all facilities necessary for an event are ready and are in top condition. The service they provide also includes assistance in securing host hotels, personal introductions to area businesses that may benefit from the event being in town and grassroots marketing of the event in the local area.
Local hotels and restaurants also get in the act. The area has over 2,000 hotel rooms and athlete-friendly dining at all price points.
"We have great mom-and-pop restaurants, along with well-known chains. All are very supportive and do things like putting coupons and menus in registration bags so athletes can try our local flavor," said Yawn.
While some hotels might cringe at the thought of scores of young athletes bunking up four to a room, those in Round Rock embrace and welcome visiting teams.
Robert Murdock, General Manager of Round Rock's Hilton Garden Inn, said, "For breakfast, we'll set up a private room so they can eat as a team and hold their team meetings. We'll help them with their laundry services if they need it. We go out of the way to do anything we can - our entire staff enjoys having athletes here."
After sporting events, athletes and their families find plenty of fun at every turn. Golf fans can choose among seven golf courses, all just minutes away, while others will enjoy venturing below ground at Inner Space Caverns. Shopping fans flock to the exclusive Round Rock Premium Outlets and historic downtown Round Rock, with its more traditional shopping experiences.And that's just the beginning.
Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw summed it up by saying, "With the perfect athlete-friendly infrastructure to accommodate events like these, the Sports Capital of Texas is proud to be the premier destination for sports of all kinds."